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Autumn Journal | The Nation

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Autumn Journal

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Gingerly the moon moves near the hilltop church
and slides around the transept, slow, to peer
inside the cloister. No: those are not friars there,
but children… outside their nests. She rests
against a brim of wind. Their wings are hurt…
But lying in ordered rows of narrow beds
they’re all asleep, as if they’re tired. Tired
from flying, at least in dreams, and so in dreams
their mothers hold them close against warm skin.
The moon, she listens in. She doesn’t want
to wake them, she only wants to see. And then
she leaves, but rises high. She needs to make
the hilltops gleam, and drape a sheen across the sea,
but too she sends a beam back down to where
the children sleep. And up she climbs, up
through the sky, the high good sky, and searches
far and wide to find the stars. Where are the stars?
She scans the sky. Where can they be? She wants
to tell the faultless virgin stars what she has seen.

(translated from the Italian by Taije Silverman and Marina Della Putta Johnston)

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