Skin and Stone
by Davide Trame


After the red-brown clay of the fields
and the olive trees that stood quiet and defiant
in torrential rain, shower after shower,
in the eye of the storm grazing the asphalt,
the sea town was a feat of stone shining,
our feet filled with polished white that seemed
lightened from within.
The sirocco roar was a throat's clamour in the walls
where foam clapped, slashed, the crumbling stucco
of the closed hotel in fading red stood like a cheek
facing the waves with an unmoving blank gaze.
On the street behind the glossy slabs of grey-white,
our feet tasting what memory would withhold,
grey-beige with sea blades glancing at each turn
stung by sunlight then, at last, a chink cut
in the clouds' violet dark.
And grey-white slabs by the sea on which the dog ran
and rubbed her back at once in a frenzy of paws
while you shouted in the roar, and I couldn't hear you,
- it's not only stone, look, come, it's
a dead sea turtle, there, upturned, same beige
among weeds and debris - and I took in
the glossy belly in shreds and the neck skin
and the head's shape, the stony throat.

-A sea turtle claimed by earth-
you kept repeating while we walked
back to the car in a crowd of pines,
upturned dark green arms,
the sea's iris following us,
roaring with skin and stone,
these perpetual reminders.


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