BY ELIZA GRISWOLD
Photo: Antonin Kratochvil
A spring day oozes through Trastevere.
A nun in turquoise sneakers contemplates the stairs.
Ragazzi everywhere, the pus in their pimples
pushing up like paperwhites in the midday sun.
Every hard bulb stirs.
The fossilized egg in my chest
cracks open against my will.
Waking means being angry.
The dead man on the Congo road
was missing an ear,
which had either been eaten
or someone was wearing it
around his neck.
The dead man looked like this. No, that.
Here’s a flock of tourists
in matching canvas hats.
This year will take from me
the hardened person
who I longed to be.
I am healing by mistake.
Rome is also built on ruins.
(The portrait: Roy De Maistre ,Mrs Victor White1938 (Ruth Withycombe)_
Eliza Griswold received a Guggenheim Fellowship for her ongoing work on water and poverty in America. Her first non-fiction book, The Tenth Parallel, was awarded the Anthony J. Lukas prize and was a New York Times bestseller.
Her poetry and reportage has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, among many others. She’s held fellowships at Harvard University and at the New America Foundation. Her collection of reportage and translations of Afghan folk poetry,
I am the Beggar of the World, will be published in the Spring of 2014 by Farrar,
Straus and Giroux with a second collection of her poems to follow.- See more at: http://www.elizagriswold.com/bio/#sthash.6eX1tjr3.dpuf