Thursday, May 21, 2015

My poem to Padova, 1 year later

Padova, 2014
Robin Danzak

I arrive in rain.
Move in too fast.
I know one person in this city, and I just met her today.
There’s also the very polite doorman downstairs,
Who calls me “Lei” and speaks extra slowly, carefully.
I understand, I tell him.
Io capisco.
He gives me an umbrella.
Misa, messa, masa.
Sant’Antonio di Padova.
Venezia in Carnevale.
I walk...
Smells like espresso, brioche, fiori, grana padano, biciclette, pomodori.
The must of churches erected in 1300, the University 1222.
The birth of human anatomy.
Olive, rucola, radicchio, finocchio.
At the university,
I get a key, a card, an empty office that says, “Visiting Researcher”.
The feeling of being temporary.
Closed doors.
I work...
At high schools,
I meet teachers, students in their universal teenage sulk,
Smoking and riding Vespas,
Giggling at my strange words.
The language inside my head does not match
The language inside my mouth.
I walk...
Sant’Antonio, Santa Giustina, Santa Sofia, San Lorenzo.
Orto Botanico, Prato Della Valle, Piazze della Fruta, delle Erbe, dei Signori.
In the blink of an eye, three new friends!
One lives upstairs,
I knock on her door, looking for missing things.
She is a scientist, a researcher, a foreigner like me.
We become sisters, sharing evening tea and gelato.
We walk...
Two others I find at a conference,
Tutto in italiano.
They make ceramics, teach immigrant kids, counsel women victims of trafficking.
We become travel companions, amiche dal cuore.
Gnocchi, orecchiette, tortoloni, ravioli.
Trofie con pesto.
Verona, Venezia, Murano, Burano.
My husband arrives!
Easter, Wine, Love.
Lago di Como.
Bello bello bellissimo.
Cioccolato, pizza napoletana, più gelato.
Trains and busses.
We walk...
My husband leaves.
Back to work.
The machista guy at the fruit shop, the old lady at the housewares shop, the same doorman who answers all my questions.
Albicocche, spinaci, arrance rosse e bionde.
I write...
The cantor at church, the little girl and her black cat, the Sicilian grandma who teaches me passato remoto.
Misa, messa, masa.
Sant’Antonio di Padova.
Venezia, Bologna, un weekend a Londra,
Tutto in italiano.
The students are used to seeing me now.
Tutto va bene. Sto bene, starò bene.
Conosco alcuni amici.
Finisce la ricerca.
Adesso capisco quasi tutto.
Posso dire quasi tutto.
I am happy here.
It’s time to say goodbye.