Now It's Dark
Anna Maria Carpi
Translated by: Lisa Mullenneaux
Artwork by Takao Tanabe
Now it's dark and it will be dark awhile
and the journey long, time
to contemplate those
who know nothing about me nor I them
and we have nothing to fear:
are good out of their element.
There’s one working at his computer, one who telephones,
there’s one reading a newspaper
and one who lays his neck on the headrest
and sleeps open-mouthed—why every so often
does he jerk awake and feel a need
to recompose himself, to reclaim his chin?
A spasm, his self-image?
No one is ever what he wants to be.
Then his chin falls again:
Fine, I may be ugly, but so are you,
who is beautiful here?
Intermediate stops: abolish them.
Why does he get up, why does he want to get off
that man who has sat in front of me since Freiburg?
And why does she leave,
the friendly woman there in front
for dead Lucerne or Bellinzona
and vanish into the unreal,
into the world’s night?
Children, husband, work, a conference?
Will she find them? She believes so.
No one finds anything at the final stop,
sometimes a warm bed, and that’s fine,
but it’s as white as the robes of ghosts.
Don’t leave. We were companions.
Why did you arrive?
Only a journey shared is endless.
A lifelong Milanese, Anna Maria Carpi has won awards for her translations of German 20th century poets—such as Benn, Celan, and Enzensberger—and also for her own poetry, which she began publishing in 1993. In 2016, Marcos y Marcos published her collected poems as E io che intanto parlo. Besides poetry, she has written essays, stories, and four novels, described at annamariacarpi.org.
Lisa Mullenneaux (translator) is the author of Naples’ Little Women: The Fiction of Elena Ferrante. Her poetry appears widely in print and online journals. She teaches writing for the University of Maryland UC.