from Marosa di Giorgio’s Funeral carriages laden with watermelons

1 November 2015

          What a strange species is the species angel. When I was born I heard them say “Angel”, “Angels”, or other names. “Spikenard”, “Iris”. Foam that grows on branches, the most delicate porcelain increasing all by itself. Spikenard. Iris.
And in the dogs’ eyes, too, there are angels.
          Oh they were tall, wearing feathers and gauze, long long wings, grey eyes. They used to accompany us to school (each of us had one), to the girls’ dance, to my successive parallel weddings, I knew the number already.
          Where the bridegrooms were lizards, eucalypts or carnations.
          And to the great wedding with the Cat Montes; my mother was frightened and took my hand, and papa didn’t dare go.
          They flew all around nearby. The entrance to the grove, the kitchen, the oven with small skulls inside, with captured doves.
          They were present at the ceremony and the rites.
          And with their silent power they saved me.

*        *        *

          I stood motionless, with my long red curls, in the gardens of uncle Juan; next to me, bloodroots and everlastings, also reddish.
          Those who went past me thought I was a doll, a painting, an angel, one of the many angels always to be found in rosebushes and nests. And they looked at me with a certain seriousness and devotion. And all around there were nesting boxes with eggs of varying size, all extremely delicate. I saw miraculous things flickering.
          And I wanted to move, to go away; but no one called me, because no one believed in me,
          … no one calls me,
          night is about to fall.
          And I remain motionless.
          Inside my white dress, inside my red hat.

*        *        *

          The wasps were extremely delicate. Like angels, many of them fitted on the head of a pin. All of them resembled young ladies, dancing teachers. I imitated their murmuring rather well. They circled the apple’s white flowers, the quince’s ochre flowers, the pomegranate’s hard red roses. Or in the tiny fountains where my cousins, my sisters and I gazed at them, our hands on our chins. Compared to them we were giants, monsters. But the most wondrous thing was the cartons they made; almost in one stroke, their palaces of thick grey paper appeared, among the leaves, and, inside them, plates of honey.
          Meanwhile, the lizard continued hunting for hen’s eggs, warm tidbits; snakes blue as fire crossed the path, curly, delicately crafted carnations, looking like bowls of fruit and rice, shot up.
          The world, all of it, welcoming, magical.
          And one face, separated, the only one painted, walked among the leaves, eyes downcast, red mouth open.
          And when it had already gone by
          it walked past one more time.

*        *        *

          When I was an owl I observed everything with my hot and cold pupil; no being, no thing was lost on me. I floated above anyone walking by in the fields, my double cape open, my white legs half open; like a woman. And before I gave the petrifying scream, all fled to the gold mountain, to the mountain of shadows, saying: And that thing in mid-air like a star?
          But also, I was a girl there in the house.
          Mama kept the mystery to herself.
          And looked at God, weeping.

*        *        *

          Along the wire fences, glittering sinister spiderwebs. These weavers respond to the world with their silverwork. And Luck places gems and pearls with absolute certainty; only where they should go.
          Along the wire fences are the remains of weasels and hummingbirds (which have come to rest here, in their nocturnal flights).
          And a cloud drifts down, calm and hard working, like a woman, a real person; it steals some things, some remnants. It leaves others. Snails (they disappear quickly into the field). And a diminutive angel that we bring home and give a name to, Lilam. It is like a delicate doll, with tiny gold wings and hair the same. It’s there, motionless, for hours, above the furniture. Or it flies on the breezes from the rooms, before our dazzled gaze.

*        *        *

          During the night I heard a noise. I knew something had changed in the garden. I went there, in the greatest darkness. I waited trembling. At dawn I saw what it was. A butterfly was being born. I wanted to protect it, to bring it inside, before the degenerate men who are always about could appear. But who can embrace a butterfly, who can carry a soul in their hands? Then, I noticed its wings stretch upwards, growing visibly, black, purple; turning into pink sacred diamonds. Now other people had stopped, just nearby, motionless with horror. On its wings it had snow-coloured stripes, with confused stories, written or painted, that everyone was trying to decipher. And the wings rose between the trees, I don’t know how, sprinkled with precious stones; the wings reached the sun; and in the following hours, days or months, since we’d lost the idea of time, there was always a kind of mist, a soft darkness. I tried to go, I took my things and left the garden. But along the road they stopped me, telling me I must go back, since I was the one who had discovered this.
          And so, by night, I hear the murmuring, the buzzing, and at dawn I see the wings rise, black, purple, golden and pink, with stories of saints inscribed against the light.

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