My butcher had eyes of sky
the scent of linden,
white and clean petals
to cover my breasts.
had the warm red colour of flamboyants and the strong scent
of the miraculous khat, an echo of far away Yemen.
candles and wrote on my back
words of honey, of myrrh. There were no nights and I had skin of moonlight;
so he said, as he carved up my life.
had eyes of ice, sharpened word blades as if threading pearls.
He had the scent of emptiness and trodden, ruined linden flowers.
had the red colour of wounds, of lies, of blows.
One piece at a time he fed
on my nudity, down to my soul,
to my last cent, to the last shred.
To my last.
I have been flesh, I have been goods, I have been water, I have been air,
I have been nothing.
I had no voice to cry. Vocal chords strangled.
I have been goods, I have been water, I have been air, I have been nothing.
But I am alive also in death and I fall from the sky in the shape of a thousand other women
and my wounds are gilded gold, between the word courage and the word love.
And I cry, cry with the voice of a thousand women:
original Italian by Elisabetta Destasio Vettori, ‘il mio carnefice’ via Gioianet