After the Earthquake
Around the table, we drink coffee
in small cups, peel oranges
with little knives. Crumbs of cake
dot the blue cotton tablecloth
like chunks of houses all over Umbria
felled in the streets.
Just when the pieces of our lives
fall into place, another tremolo
sets us afire, breaks us into pieces
where our fears multiply.
The lights flicker. Television falters.
I look up at the wooden beams,
imagine them crushing us,
leaving the house roofless
where concrete used to be.
But for now, we are safe and whole.
The sheep still in the valley, the bees
swarming in the apiary on the hill
as though nothing has happened,
nothing at all.
The sheep have left
the pasture today after
roaming from square
to green square daily
for months, with clouds
of ibis following for fleas.
They’ve spread their gentle wooliness
in Umbria not far from the sea.
Now they have disappeared.
No white creatures foam the hills,
only verdure folding into itself,
the loneliest green of tangled kale
under olive trees shivering
in their own silvery hair.
Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry on four continents. Her work has been translated into several languages and has appeared in such diverse publications as Fifth Wednesday, The Pedestal, Shi Chao Poetry, Italian-Americana, Poetry Salzburg, and Istanbul Literary Review. Her most recent book of poems is Edges (Purple Flag Press, 2016). donnapuccianipoet.wordpress.com