. . . I sentimenti che vivono fra le braci di anni
sono imbottiti nelle borsette di vergogna e di paura.
Urbano Giordano, Disfare il Momento
Fire always seems like autumn
no matter what season it may flare
in places where flames don’t make sense:
warm luminaries set on holiday snow;
a clam-bake on the torrid summer sand;
or dancing behind the casement windows
of a melting vinyl-sided house
in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.
She had a name – it ran in the paper
the day after she and her twins burned up,
along with some photos and enough detail
to illuminate the tragedy. In the front yard,
all along the street, a language of warning lay
beneath the maples and sycamores,
padding without syntax or complicity
the surfaces of twilight in a crackled radiance
understood too late for that October.
The altar, they figured, and a child’s
fascination with orange sacrifice, oddly-alive.
Easy enough to see it topple in abandon
to the vagaries of croscill and a breeze.
Sometimes predictability earns its chance.
And at a moment like this, who thinks
of a jittery flapper tramping, vaguely
recognizable, across the tempered leaves?
Thirty years after Halloween, who thinks
of sequin and clumsy dancing shoes,
of that pitching masquer cast
for one incalculably drawn moment
against collapsing frame and ember-glow,
a burnished wraith in carnival relief
clutching and pitching and clutching?
* [these] feelings live among the embers of years
stuffed into clutch-purses of shame and fear.