I Shouldn't Complain

Anna Maria Carpi

Translated by: Lisa Mullenneaux

Original text: "Non dovrei lamentarmi "

Artwork by Tim Gardner

I shouldn’t complain. Some evenings

this little bar is my saloon,


I know what joy is.

I saddle up and fly

over fantastic prairies

for a fistful of dollars or nothing.


It’s the effect of the sea in front of me,

I adore the sea and the coming night

and the words that appear in my head—

a little mixed up, perhaps,

because I’ve drunk a bit, I don’t know

how much, the bottle’s emptying,

but not much.


I’ve drunk at the world’s ocean

where each evening

on its five continents come

buffalo, deer, tigers to drink from its springs

and I get to see them

each evening that God gives us on earth—

such a beautiful, quaint expression.

But he is there, when you let yourself go.

Anna Maria Carpi

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

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.