Amelia Rosselli
Two Poems, translated from the Italian by Jennifer Scappettone

seventy destitutes and a shirt that ripped itself up

in the null, by some caprice I lay back in the 

null and all was laurel and beneficence, benefacted

the king of the poor, camel that would crawl. A rain

hard, thin, penetrated, in need of assistance

I penetrated rooms furnished to a real life

that with capital letters drew itself away from mine, courteously

obliging were the condemned to death. Invitations

crept along the rainy cornerstones of a city

permeable: not one hidden beast dusted

the goats that marched ecstatic upon the mounts of the 

Trinity: a camel, two Indians and the people master

of all the arts, music and mathematics, the fury

of realizable dreams. Lost in the basin of shadows,

the white spiderwebs and the dust on the lashes—

specks and small pearls beneath a rain most wretched

settled for the best a life closed.





Two monkeys ploughed the soul of invisible traces,

the heart suffered it, old guard whiskered, corrupt,

drunk, tenacious, without hope and yet expecting the entire

curved sky in hand. The heart has a hand? you ask and

irony too with its hand (riddled with cookies)

draws or scratched an arabesque tremulous on the opaque hills

of the mind: irony is a needle, the tempests bathe with

opaque sorrows the lascivious blood, of how the breath rushes


to lop off the guards! (here folly you managed a 

sort of feast, released me).

Found In Volume 31, No. 04
Read Issue
  • amelia rosselli
Amelia Rosselli
About the Author

Amelia Rosselli is widely considered one of the most important Italian poets of the second half of the twentieth century. A bilingual edition of her selected poetry and prose, Locomotrix, edited and translated by Jennifer Scappettone, was published in 2012 by University of Chicago Press.


Rosselli took her own life at her home in Rome in 1996.