La Romana. By Alberto Moravia.
I read it at 13 snugged up in bed
in my aunt's house in Kilbirnie –
having rejected my own home in
Rongotai. For the usual reasons.
One hand on my mons veneris
eyebrows approaching hairline
at the spendthrift and amoral
atmosphere, the recklessness,
Europe! Not knowing yet that
I am reading in translation –
there are other languages.
But panting towards the source.
And my father arrives. Like a prince.
Offering me a packet of scorched almonds.
I accept them – like a princess –
like one who will one day be a queen
turn back towards the appalling book.
Scorched almonds are marvellous but
La Romana has my complete attention.
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