Come with me to the basement, where we dry
prosciutto from the crisscrossed beams, and keep
clay jars of water to humidify
the air that’s always evening air, where deep
set rows of iron nails have slowly bled
their rust down ancient frescoes on the wall,
or what remains of them: a soldier’s head
that’s looking for its feet, and in a shawl
a mother clinging to her privacy
who crumbles as she views whatever sight
was painted next to her—now empty space—
her prayer unraveling for eternity
inside a ragged breathlessness of fright
and trembling as she tries to hide her face.
Luca D’Anselmi teaches Latin and Greek. He lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.