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)
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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.