from the Italian of Roberto Coppini
The man gathers the crumbs of bread,
crosses fork and knife on the plate:
the light from the lamp
bevels his face.
What can you expect a letter to bring!
The world turns without noticing it, the angels
sleep in their tombs, the soldier who’s appeared
at the threshold drips blood on the papers.
The eyes are blocked by jobs
that are worthless, the filing of legal appeals, signs
of the cross on bills paid forthwith
or on the door of those who sooner or later
will have to be silenced.
The room is full of visitors. One
asks for me.