Alessandra Bava: Three Love Letters to Anne Sexton
Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor
Love Letter to Anne Sexton # 2
I say: “It’ll be romance gone wrong.”
“I can take it,” you answer. I say “I’m
older than you now, but not as wise.”
You shake your head, reject the
wisdom of the pill, elude the cure.
“I bleed all the time,” you add.
I know that it’s not what you imply,
but it hurts me that I’ve stopped, now
that menopause has kicked in, yet
desire is still strong, and I hold on to it.
“I’ll be your gauze and your peroxide,”
I say. “My wound is suppurating,” you
answer. “I’ll flush it, dab it and suture it,”
I add. You lay your wiry fingers on my
head, smile and whisper: “You’re marrying
a cadaver!” I watch your waning face,
and say: “A beloved bride. My sick lily.”
You take me by the hand, hum a few notes
from Mendelsohn’s march and sprint towards
an altar of books, two rings in the hand.
Love Letter to Anne Sexton #7
You teach me all about
the stubbornness of being,
the permanence of grief.
I know life tore you
apart. “I’ve died many
a life,” you say.
Your years were a long
poem of resurrections.
Your husky voice rings
as fierce as an incantation,
as tender as shattered glass.
Your tongue moves swift,
a red carp in the pond of
heartbreak, saying: “Save
me, but love yourself!”
Love Letter to Anne Sexton #8
I am rowing upstream like
a salmon seeking new words.
I know you understand what
drives me. I have rowed with
you, page after page, oar in
hand, toward God. You were
an adamant seeker. Have you
ever seen spawning salmons
brave the rapids? They turn
dark and red, grow humps,
develop canine-like teeth to
lay their eggs. I have never
known a greater dedication,
an effort that tastes like
sour romance. Beauty is not
familiar to me and I would
gladly turn ugly to hatch new
poems. “Would you Anne?”
I ask. The fiery gleam in your
eyes is the only answer I crave.
Photo credit: Marco Cinque
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alessandra Bava is a poet and a translator living in the Eternal city. Her poems and translations have appeared in magazines such as Gargoyle, Lunch Ticket, Plath Profiles, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Tinderbox and Waxwing. Her poetry books and chapbooks have been published both in Italy and in the US and are: Guerrilla Blues (2012), Nocturne (2013), They Talk About Death (2014), Diagnosis (2015), A rima armata (2016), Love & Other Demons (2017). Over the years she has translated from English and French into Italian works by several poets including: Michel Butor (La main voyante/La main parlante, 2013 and Les poisons meurent aussi, 2015), Jack Hirschman (House, 2012)) and Alejandro Murguía (Offerte di carta, 2016). She has translated from Italian into English poems by Antonia Pozzi and Antonella Anedda among others. She has edited and translated into Italian A New Anthology of American Poets (2015) and Anthology of Contemporary American Women Poets (2018). She has just finished translating poems for an upcoming Anthology of Contemporary British Women Poets. When she is not translating, she keeps working on a biography of former SF Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman.
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