Attilio Bertolucci

A
Attilio Bertolucci
Poppies
This is a year of poppies: our land
was brimming with them as May burned
into June and I returned—
a sweet dark wine that made me drunk.

From clouds of mulberry to grains to grasses
ripeness was all, in the fitting
heat, in the slow drowsiness spreading
through the universe of green.
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To His Mother, Whose Name Was Maria
Invoked every sundown, it’s you, painted on clouds
rouging our treasured plain and all who walk it,
with leaf-fresh kids and women damp from traveling,
city-bound, in the radiance of a just-stopped shower;
it’s you, mother eternally young, courtesy of death’s
plucking hand, rose at the fragrant point of unpetaling,
you who are the alpha of every neurosis, every torturing anxiety,
and for this I give you gratitude for time past, time present, time future.

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