“My name was wrong to believe in continuity.” – Mario Benedetti

TERSA MORTE

Mario Benedetti

Mandami le ossa, mandami il cranio senza gli occhi,

la mascella aperta, spalancata, fissa nei denti,

e i calzini sotto la tuta, eri rigido, eri rigido, eri una cosa

come un’altra, senza la forma che hanno i tavoli,

morso dallo stento del vivere, una cosa inservibile,

indecisa, un terriccio che non si nota, un pezzo di asfalto

di una strada anonima, eri tu, quella cosa, eri tu,

quella cosa, eri uno che è morto. Così fragile il tuo sorriso,

lo sguardo blu e gli zigomi, il metro e settantacinque

portato come un uomo che piace, che vive per sempre,

per sempre dentro una vita che per potere essere

vissuta deve sembrare una vita per sempre, mentre eri

della carne, quello che io sono uno per sempre ancora.

LUCID DEATH

Mario Benedetti

Send me the bones, send me the eyeless skull,

the open maxilla, gaping, fixed in teeth,

and the socks under the slacks, you were rigid, you were rigid, you were a thing

like any other, without the shape that tables have,

trapped in the toil of living, something  unusable,

unsure, a soil unnoticed, a piece of asphalt

of an anonymous road, you were that thing, you were

that thing, you were one who is dead. So fragile your smile

the blue gaze and the cheekbones, the five foot eight

paraded like one who is appealing, who lives forever,

forever inside a life that in order to be

lived must seem like life forever, while you were

of flesh, that which I am one forever still.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2020

Mario Benedetti was an Italian poet and translator. He was born in Nimis on November 9, 1955, and died in Milan on March 27, 2020. For years he had been fighting an autoimmune disease: he is one of the many victims of the coronavirus.

The poem is from the collection Tersa morte by Mario Benedetti (Mondadori 2013).

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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