Essays    Reportage    Marginalia    Interviews    Poetry    Fiction    Videos    Everything   
Umbrian Paces

A zuihitsu

Poetry | Zuihitsu
April 15, 2022

This piece is part of the 随筆 | Zuihitsu notebook, which features original art by Satsuki Shibuya.

You’re draped in another’s face, you think. Suspended in a mirror inside a house on the Umbrian hillside. A migratory route: from one evidence of having lived to the next. 

Pitcher of milk in the sink, salami sweating on a cloth rag. That which soured in one context turned hardier in the following. An extravagance of solitude, and kilometers before nightfall, light the color of rind that eases off the knife.

Who was it that said living was a procession of steady and then sudden revisions?

Early morning runs through the silver olive groves, who drowse without scent or sound. Then the warm rain, July’s signature: a mantra coursing through the lineated breath of them.

Separated from other human activity in all directions, muscles of known names contract.

You who share my origins: do you share my ruin, also? My weed-nature keeps me around, I tell you. I grow most abundant where I’m met with neglect.

The day, cut through like curd. Slow, creamy images: a wasp touching the face of a fig, still wet. Nerves of the wind startling white linen on the clothesline.

In happiness, how much easier it is to make interpretive mistakes. 

When you act toward someone in your sleep it is indecipherable, there’s no keeping of counts. You run behind so many eyes that are brushed away by the rough hands of morning. Unclear what is the rehearsal: the unscripted wetland of dreaming or the act that follows it.

Inexhaustible language of the non-human. Dog licking at a scab of a shadow. And then this old longing halved on the edge of nightfall, without the lens of a witness.

To plunge a brush into the ink of your most private voice.

Tonight, the scent of a green walnut tree, and a gust of melancholia, with some bones left in it.

All that remains unsettled in the ground, in the weather. How a doubt can appear out of nothing, like much else, and then go back and disappear into loose folds.

Tasting the burnt language left too long in the broil of the mouth.

Nothing that I keep within is against me. A realization I’ve had time and time again.

Though how often I’ve let it leap, clean, through my hands.