The Lost World

Poesie di Lidia Colavita


I remember the unchanging garden, the living apricot tree.
I remember thinking I am happy here
but nothing happens.
A wish, that’s all, it was nothing
but a wish, a voice moving
from my hands, making no requests, only
asking questions. Then the garden began
to decay, and disappeared
from our minds. We grew apart; the earth
made room for us.
I wished
to touch more than just his soul,
but there was no intention in it,
as always in the beginning.
There was only desire, desire, desire,
an arm out to dispel
or reach, feeling at once
the great distance of all things
and the pull of the world,
a voice asking
What do you want? What do you want?
How can anyone learn
to say I want?
How could anyone know
they have a body
until they feel naked?

You never get used to being naked.
Even alone, you don’t look at yourself

long enough
to see what a lover would see.

Preemptively, you tell him,
“Turn off the lamp”, thinking darkness

will sympathize. Let him picture
Maria Callas in her thin days,

or even brilliant Galatea
being loosed

from marble, beginning
as all talent begins—without

a self, only
as substance: rigid, yes,

but spontaneous, conceiving
motion through form.

What can the body believe?

It slams the soul into a shadow
against the wall.

Poor soul, have you
learned nothing?

Clearly, you have no idea
what you’re doing. It’s so obvious

from the way you touch him,
first cautiously, then all at once.

Thank god for the night. You show yourself
for the stranger you are

to your body, this hapless dancer
waiting in a music box

finally to be opened, spun. You move
with your eyes closed,

both of you, even though
you think: it’s dark,

whatever you see will not change—
but what of things you cannot see?

He moves your hands to where you are
nowhere to be found.

And, then, after it has all
happened, lying wide away

over him, you are surprised
to find this discovery

feels like loss, surprised, even,
to find the other there, both of you

so still it seems the room is empty;
but you don’t know anymore.

You imagine your body as the body of a horse
caught in blackberry thorns, except

they aren’t thorns, but rowels,
spindles of stars.

Stay with yourself a while longer.