by Marguerite Bouvard
Start with a highway rising above
the skyline of buildings, then take the bypass
that brings you past Grandi Motori,
drive through small villages
with their stone walls shading the road
and you will arrive at Bagnoli
where you walk into the canyon,
of Val Rosandra as if you were back
in the beginning. Butterflies
greet us, writing their calligraphy
in the air, on the river’s low murmur.
Among the bushes and trees are ruins
of Roman aqueducts, stones whisper
stories of empire and water
that flowed to Trieste.
An ancient tree leans over a boulder
serrated by moss, a sign rises
on the slopes reminding us
that a border once crossed the top
of the canyon and opened
one day a year when Josef Broz Tito,
head of the Politburo
in Yugoslavia proclaimed the Day
of Friendship: Italians walking
into his country, Croats,
Serbs and Slovines entering Italy
to celebrate each others’ families.
In the Val Rosandra we are part of
history, the earth
is our skin, the language—
pulsing of cicadas.
There are no other sounds.
Marguerite Bouvard has published 17 books and numerous articles in the fields of political science, psychology, literature and poetry. Representative publications include The Unpredictability of Light (Word Press) and Revolutionizing Motherhood:The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Rowman and Littlefield). Her poetry and essays have been widely anthologized. Her current research focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.