Today's poem is by Sara Tracey

        for Oxana and Tanya


On our tongues, this language
          is like chipped teeth. The words

neither of us know. A local man
          will teach me: collo

is the word for neck. The word for thumb
          is a warning: police. He will be

an olive farmer or a horse trainer,
          he will teach me to know an olive tree

by the silver underside of its leaves, how many
          times to press an olive for oil.

He will tell me to ride faster, to kick
          my horse, to trust it on the steepest hills.


They ask if we are sisters. Our faces, they say,
          are the same. My Russian doll,

you and I know the miles it would take
          to make us family. One of us is a gypsy.

One of us is starting from scratch. You believe
          maps predict the future, you study

my palm to find the way home.


When I return, sorella, you and I
          will walk empty churchyards,

the streets an echo of what came before,
          stone slabs and brass doors, only

the smell of leather to remind us of the market
          we push through each morning.

You will tell me how a man drove you
          away from the city, how he lit

your cigarette—chick of sparkwheel
          and flintspring, then fire—and claimed

colpo di fulmine: love at first sight, like lightning;
          the body lit from within.

Copyright © 2014 Sara Tracey All rights reserved
from Some Kind of Shelter
Misty Publications
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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