Three Poems by Thomas Dedola


I left my body in one of the vicoli ciechi
near a large lime-green dumpster in
a wet July in Verona.

I left my body propped against the wall,
where the gravel is a splatter of black pneumonia
which stains the bin man’s boots.

And I made my way out, into the town centre,
past grey faces forming a hesitant queue,
melting their way into the cultural death camp of the Arena.

Nearby, families take great care to paint on smiles
as grinning with joy they haemorrhage love,
and look for answers at the bottom of a seafood salad.

The day gets lost in a wet cough, as we all
run out of borrowed time to waste. Words
gasp for air. It must be the humidity.

I will see how far I can walk away without a body,
until the wind catches up and, like a dead friend’s
hand, leads me back inside.

Santa Maria delle Stelle

Smart shoes, cheap tears, expensive bleach:
the doctor makes his rounds, that
routine chore on rotting shadows.

Halogen lights frame brittle skin, sandpaper
flesh as the space screams

In hospital bays they lie,
tattered advertisements for
perpetual inevitability.

Perhaps they relish their stagnation –
too weak to move, too weak to smile,
too weak to throw caution to the wind.

On any given Monday,
the doctor watches a man
erode under a neon moon.

Life is fleeting, but
death is unremitting – it just keeps going on
behind nondescript doors

where visiting relatives haunt the wards
and the miasma of life first rises
then seeps into cracked walls.

The doctor makes his rounds,
as forms inhaling and exhaling count
down the minutes till lunch.

Peaking in 2012

Between winter and summer,
the nights are an ellipsis and there is
nothing but water waiting.

You wake up and find that getting
dressed no longer gives you a
greater sense of purpose.

You look at a nice house, a
nice partner, a nice car because
you’ve become your own voyeur.

Your life is nothing more than a
stilted choreography to which you
have started to forget the moves.

Between autumn and spring, the days
are a hurricane in a Petri dish,
leaving you too legless to be swept off your feet.

You trudge in a little suburban Eden,
where nothing helps and where
nothing happens.

You spend these days hands smudged
with ink as you no longer remember if you’ve drawn
more lines than you’ve crossed.

And you spend these moments thinking back
to when you thought you had it all, soft
violins bloom in your eyes.


Thomas is an Italian poet based in Cambridge. He has previously had pieces published in Felan, Fictive Dream and co-produced a Haiku anthology which was longlisted for a Saboteur Award in 2017.

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