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Maryann De Julio

MARYANN DE JULIO is a Professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

from Miransù

There’s a packet of Luigi’s papers, in the days of fascism they had it in for the masons, and my brother said to me, Isa, there must be some papers there with grandfather’s story, hide them, because he was a 33rd degree Grand Rosicrucian Prince of Freemasonry.

from Miransù

What a bad feeling, an indescribable thing. Nothing hurts me, I feel overwhelmed, my breathing, it seems like the world is collapsing on me. Maybe I miss your grandfather, maybe I miss him.

from Miransù

I did well to marry grandfather. Perhaps I wasn’t suited to being with sedate folk, worthy, reliable, but if you had spent the childhood and the youth that I had… When nonna died no one took the house in hand.

from Miransù

When the war was over your grandfather parted from the company and I went to help him in the shop, he needed somebody, if on the spur of the moment a client came, or for the pay for the workers. I understood accounting, I was ten years with a bookkeeper, he didn’t want to do anything, he had me do everything but he taught me.

from Miransù

I see them from the window, seated on their heels in the field in order to make straight rows of the fruit plantings. Michele found the posts and with the hoe widens the holes that two weeks ago they had prepared with an apparatus attached to the tractor. Then it started to rain, and the cherries that I had bought were laid down by the edge under a pile of soil and sand. In the meantime they talked about politics, graying thin hair falling over their brows while a magenta glow swarms in the tangle of woods, among the bundles of pruning.

from Miransù

A sound is heard in the air, it parts from the slopes of the mountains and it clots in this basin in which the clarity of the sun tenuously disengages the opacity of a veil that covers it and seems generated from the sterile womb of the web that the dry branches make on the faces of the hills.

from Miransù

Hush sleep, let me think, it’s my love who eviscerates the bond and full murmurs. Then suddenly everything is quiet, everything bogs down, the crackling of gestures in order to separate from the union and find from that embrasure the opening of light in order to leave. opening of light in order to leave.

from Miransù

I would have liked to have a male child. Everybody’s happy with a male. When your mama had your brother she bent over backwards, after when she had you she was happy, there was already a male, your father when he saw you the first thing that he said was, tell me the truth, they forgive you, I love you the same, did you go with an Indian? You had two very dark eyes… Your mother aborted a bunch of times poor thing, though two times I aborted, me too.

from Miransù

Iole was tall and imposing, light complexioned, delicate, pale blue eyes and long snow white hair that she held back in soft coils with tortoise shell combs. Every morning with slow gestures, seated before the mirror of the dressing table, she tidied this long hair dampened with nettle juice.

from Miransú

Grandfather was a lathe turner, with the African War the government didn’t give us a scrap of brass, the contadini used to bring him pieces of brass from the snappers found in the fields, they had bombarded good, with those famous bombs, up here from this part, to there by the church, in the field of the dead, I don’t know if you know, we owned a piece of land called the field of the dead because they found two Germans there.

from Miransù

After seven months of war in Abyssinia my brother they repatriated him because of a heart condition and they declared him unfit to serve in the war. When they recalled him for the war that came after, we all said to him, but how, they said you were unfit to serve and you’re going to show up?

from Miransù

At night, in the car, smashing a puddle while from the brambles drips a water conscious of the path unfolding in order to give its contribution to the roots of the plants, Ettore and I get worked up against the government, in order to make sure that our values remain alive at least in a language between humans, and inside me I have a clear image of the void that I would have to defend if it were to come at the expense of others, but descanting on this certainty that has upset the custom of our gaze costs me a fatigue that I don’t know whether to understand as the epiphany of a tiredness in which now to acquiesce in a delicate manner in order to pay homage to the matter and take some leave, or because reputed more suitable to reveal our humanity, the poetic word, sensitive.

from Miransù

My cousin Piero I saw him once every three, four months. He lived with his mama, Aunt Emma, my father’s sister. He did everything, he was even in France in the Foreign Legion, he had cashed some of his father’s accounts, my other cousin in contrast was an angel.

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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 19-JAN 20

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