Three Poems

translated by Catherine Kedala
Photo: Daniel Simon
Photo: Daniel Simon


this ours

that it be a union
of scissors: cut
the hair, the hems,

the cord that
feeds me worry with
every bite, my

secret family
line. Cut it
as if it were

uneven bangs,
the carton of
milk, the glued

of a book.


I unwind
the wire
from the head,

a deformed hanger
that no longer
holds you up.


drip-dried glass
this ear:
lips remaining
if you look against the light.


harsh verses like
stitches, to
tell this story;

with wire.


my word
a moth that
collides with light
(you, a fiber
that sizzles
preserved in a jar)



If every time that
I sweat I lost a bit of you I would be
at a good point:

you wouldn’t return to
my throat in the morning, only
as a shroud in my



When the eye darkens
don’t search for the warmth of
     the hand that lowers the eyelid,
the melody of the word escapes,
the voice that smiles at you with
     redone teeth.
If language is the world, it’s
a mirror, find yourself there with
pupils, fish there from that black
that ink that tells you the vertical
word. In its shadow questions
grow, it makes room
for the breath of thinking.
The horizontal word doesn’t
but the white of the margins, the
     break that
covers the absence between you
     and me.

Translations from the Italian
By Catherine Kedala

Photo: Daniel Simon

Elisa Biagini has published seven poetry collections, most recently Da una crepa (2014). Her poems have been translated into many languages, and she has published editions of her poetry in Spain and the US. A translator from English—of Alicia Ostriker, Sharon Olds, and Lucille Clifton, among others—she has published an anthology of contemporary American poetry, Nuovi Poeti Americani (Einaudi, 2006). She lives in Florence and teaches writing at NYU-Florence.

Photo: Denise Noone

Catherine Kedala specializes in film studies and literature of the twentieth century and teaches Italian language and literature. She received a Global Citizen Award in 2014 and the 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Connecticut.