2 poems by Chiara Salomoni

FERNANDO

He printed my mother’s name inside
his copy of Manzoni’s I Promessi Sposi.

I sometimes open that book
to witness his silent love.

My father’s leather jacket,
well worn from the 70s, became

my teenage second skin. I hung
around, this fashion piece on me.

My father drove his beige Cinquecento
on long, narrow streets singing

his dear folk song Romagna Mia.
That car my own first four wheels.

But wherever I go
I am Fernando’s daughter

to the people who knew him,
for they look at me, into his green eyes.

NONNA IDA

Nonna Ida’s bag was in the cattleshed
for forty years, her beloved photos inside.
Paper perfect, colour intact
as if recently printed by a photographer.

Love is a strong thread

Photos of my parents’ wedding in the church,
my mother smiling under her veil.
My father standing in his uniform.
My father’s cousin, the embroiderer, laughing.

Love is a strong thread

One of my aunts flirting with a local bloke.
My cousin’s confirmation with her parents;
two other cousins shyly playing,
a view of sweet hills behind them.

Love is a strong thread

Nonna Ida wore black after nonno’s death,
and put her long hair up. But life went on.
Her big hands held her infant nephew
when his own mother suddenly died.

Love is a strong thread

Nonna Ida baked chestnut cakes for everyone,
told tales and folk stories, fought her battle
for her family safety during the war
when her Appennino was occupied.

Love is an endless thread

Nonna Ida longed to see me when I was born,
the only grandchild she never met.
Ida, from old High German, ‘woman warrior’,
the woman I would like to be.

About the contributor

Chiara Salomoni is a poet and translator. Some of her poems appear on Vivienne Westwood’s website. She is currently translating poetry by Silvio Ramat, Andrea Zanzotto and by Corrado Govoni. She read from her translations of Zanzotto at the Poetry Library. She is a member of the Tideway Poets.

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