The Italian Riveter: NOTES ON SIBERIAN MACROECONOMICS by Tiziano Fratus, translated by Gail McDowell

I pull down your stockings with my teeth
you stare at me expressionless                               glacial
arching your upper lip
the smell of cinnamon apple tea tempers
your body which is posed as though by god’s hands
on the black background of the sheet that replicates a nervous system
you murmur to me as I sleep
that not only elongated women
with hair like fish bones and transparent forearms
migrate from siberia
muscovite anthropologists disinter mammoth tusks
using old army vehicles
that survived the wars in afghanistan and the soviet empire
cut sectioned packaged and sold to merchants from hong kong
objects that will end up in the luxury homes of the nouveau riche
or some up-and-coming politician
you tell me about a chessboard carved in mammoth ivory
a chessboard that carries a dowry of a few thousand years
you interrupt your tale laughing over a nuance of the language that escapes me
you resume making love to my body
captured in the western segment of our small lunar sea
the polar night begins to fall
refreezing the remains of those creatures
as an ivory queen alights among stifled sighs
on the belly of an albino mermaid

By Tiziano Fratus

Translated by Gail McDowell

From Double Skin: New Poetic Voices from Italy and Singapore

Published by Ethos Books (2009)


Read The Italian Riveter here or order your paper copy from here.

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Tiziano Fratus is an Italian writer, poet, publisher and traveller. He developed the concept of Homo radix (‘root man’), the practice of alberography and dendrosophy, by which he lives today. His nature writing has been widely translated and included in several international anthologies.


Gail McDowell, born in the United States, is a linguist, interpreter and translator. She has lived in Italy for several decades and translated numerous works, both literary and technical.

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