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First Read

Seventh Scene

By Maria Borio
Translated from Italian by Danielle Pieratti
Maria Borio's debut poetry collection, Transparencies, was published this week by World Poetry Books in Danielle Pieratti's translation. In the poem below, Borio reflects on a relationship mediated by screens.
A silhouette of a man looking at his phone
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

We’d extend our hands
assessing their edges’ cracked skin.
It’s a scene visible
behind a part of me retreating,
light sustains all things
paper and digital; you sustain yourself
delivered to the door where
emerging onto the ice you open me.
         This second scene leaves me creature among mankind,
you man among the creatures degrading—
balcony, copper pipe, tangle of clouds,
a silhouette that speaks.
         In the third scene we talk
motionless across a screen in the ether
particles or material subspecies
the acts they call language
or true language, sinuous, unconscious.
         I can tell you
real time, in real time you can
tell me, both blinded by the blue light,
the luck of knowing how to open
a fourth scene
where the fragments of others enter
and we recover, banding ourselves
to a schedule and a word—
the red, imaginary news
has sunk behind the horizon,
one moment for the world to become—
when there in the fifth, sixth, seventh scene
will be the mailman or the guy from the bar
or even your father and my mother
sinking always further into themselves.
         In this way I’d returned, in the fifth scene,
to the secret you had erased for a world
that entered the room withdrawing.
Then in the sixth we were in line
at the station, with our eyes and a bill
folded between hand and table—
a self-trust, a respect.
         In the seventh scene I return
breathe in that unreal product
of screen, color, face and voice, far
and bright, chaotic collisions, temperatures,
while the pure thought of me
is no longer me
though you save it, and the eager trials
of this fight for our place
are accidents,
storms.
         A primitive, guttural sound:
the sending of nothing to others is nothing—
our seventh scene is the seventh day,
the life they want to steal
blank is naked.


From
Transparencies by Maria Borio. © 2022 Interlinea Editions. Translation © 2022 by Danielle Pieratti. Reprinted by arrangement with World Poetry Books. All rights reserved.

English

We’d extend our hands
assessing their edges’ cracked skin.
It’s a scene visible
behind a part of me retreating,
light sustains all things
paper and digital; you sustain yourself
delivered to the door where
emerging onto the ice you open me.
         This second scene leaves me creature among mankind,
you man among the creatures degrading—
balcony, copper pipe, tangle of clouds,
a silhouette that speaks.
         In the third scene we talk
motionless across a screen in the ether
particles or material subspecies
the acts they call language
or true language, sinuous, unconscious.
         I can tell you
real time, in real time you can
tell me, both blinded by the blue light,
the luck of knowing how to open
a fourth scene
where the fragments of others enter
and we recover, banding ourselves
to a schedule and a word—
the red, imaginary news
has sunk behind the horizon,
one moment for the world to become—
when there in the fifth, sixth, seventh scene
will be the mailman or the guy from the bar
or even your father and my mother
sinking always further into themselves.
         In this way I’d returned, in the fifth scene,
to the secret you had erased for a world
that entered the room withdrawing.
Then in the sixth we were in line
at the station, with our eyes and a bill
folded between hand and table—
a self-trust, a respect.
         In the seventh scene I return
breathe in that unreal product
of screen, color, face and voice, far
and bright, chaotic collisions, temperatures,
while the pure thought of me
is no longer me
though you save it, and the eager trials
of this fight for our place
are accidents,
storms.
         A primitive, guttural sound:
the sending of nothing to others is nothing—
our seventh scene is the seventh day,
the life they want to steal
blank is naked.


From
Transparencies by Maria Borio. © 2022 Interlinea Editions. Translation © 2022 by Danielle Pieratti. Reprinted by arrangement with World Poetry Books. All rights reserved.

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