Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

In Matera

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

In Matera

Article excerpt

In Matera,

where the darkness

rose from the sockets

of caves

under the city,

like a town

in Pennsylvania where

the coal fires bum

miles down,

year after year,


I dreamed again

of you, so seldom

in all this time,

and not even you,

but a stranger

with news of you:

a confusing, messy tale,

a custody battle, lost jobs,

I couldn't follow it all,

and what I could conflicted

with what I knew,

but like all dreams

it had a logic

which overrules

contradictions, as when

I see my dead father now,

in whatever improbable place

or circumstance, I wake

believing it was real, if only

to me, so through this

intermediary I felt you near,

as in another room

listening, and at one point,

in the semi-darkness,

thought it might be you,

in disguise, and wearing

glasses as you haven't

done since high school.

Still I would have recognized

the voice, in that strange place,

enclosed like a porch

in some equatorial region,

shuttered against the heat

of the day. …

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