Two Poems by Luca D’Anselmi

The Basement

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.

“The Basement” was first published by Wine Cellar Press


I think of you in the librarium
where I store letters, histories, and memoirs
pickled chronologically in jars
of brine and vinegar, though sadly some
books of astronomy exuded scum
because their illustrations had dissolved,
and others inexplicably evolved
ecologies in equilibrium,
where algae thrive, and young monastic snails
take vows, grow old, outlive their lovers, grieve
for old miscalculations, slowly leave
mixed messages behind in slimy trails,
and clean the inky glass so I can see
unopened letters that you wrote to me.

Luca D’Anselmi teaches Latin and Greek. He lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

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