Vox Populi

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Emily De Ferrari: Sicilian Triptych


The honest water of the Mediterranean

dances over pearl white stones,

nuzzles the cerulean sea coves of azure and sapphire blues,

encourages aqua marine fish to play with us 

in the brilliance of sunlight at our feet.

The honest water, like a smiling

Etruscan dolphin, calls us

to deeper clarity, where we fail to notice,

at the gleaming bottom, 

the bones of our greed.

These honest waters, flow over the ancient debauchery of Baiae,

over the volatility of Marsili, bring to shore the bodies

but we do not see them. 

Instead we eat at well set tables,

the fish that wove through rotting flesh.

We do not recognize the taste of blood in our mouths.



The desert and the sea 

are not 


in our crimes, 

but are 

as real, 

as wide, 

as fatal 

as the abyss 

engineered between us.



Diallo’s wooden wheelbarrow kicked up dust 

as he approached us at the open gate. 

Where are you going? 

It is impossible. 

This property is private. 

He smiled enthusiastically, 

gesticulated detailed directions over public roads to our destination. 

He’d come from Senegal, 

piloted a boat across the rough passage, 

laid eyes, in the water, on the land, 

upon the remains of people not as lucky as he. 

Spent 21 days in an Italian jail, months on Sicilian streets. 

Life is to be embraced and loved in all its rich wonder, 

where beauty is a buffer against the unbearable. 

When the season is over, 

when the boats are pulled up and put away, 

when the restaurant is closed and the shutters secured, 

when I am in my kitchen

watching red oak leaves fall,

he has a hearing in Milan. 

His future, he said, is unknown.

Copyright 2019 Emily De Ferrari

A view of Palermo. “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all.” (Goethe)

5 comments on “Emily De Ferrari: Sicilian Triptych

  1. Vincent Spina
    June 10, 2021


    Liked by 1 person

  2. melpacker
    June 9, 2021

    Powerful words from a powerful writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Huntington
    June 9, 2021

    Pulled in deeper and deeper. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Deborah DeNicola
    June 9, 2021

    These are beautiful words. Stern and sad. But Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

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