Winter Vacations

di Margart Atwood

How quickly we’re skimming through time,
leaving behind us
a trail of muffin crumbs
and wet towels and hotel soaps
like white stones in the forest.
But something’s eroded them:
we can’t trace them back
to that meadow where we began so eagerly
with the berry-filled cups, and the parents
who had not yet abandoned us
to take their chances in the ground.

Our tropical clothing’s remorseless:
it fully intends to outlast us.
We’re shriveling inside it,
leaking calcium from our bones.
Then there’s our crafty hats:
we catch them sneering in mirrors.
We could afford new t-shirts,
daring ones, with rude slogans,
but it seems a waste:
we’ve got too many already.
Also they’d gang up on us,
they’d creep around on the floor,
they’d tangle our ankles,
then we’d fall down the stairs.

Despite all this we’re traveling fast,
we’re traveling faster than light.
It’s almost next year,
it’s almost last year,
it’s almost the year before:
familiar, but we can’t swear to it.
What about this outdoor bar,
the one with the stained-glass palm tree?
We know we’ve been here already.
Or were we? Will we ever be?
Will we ever be again?
Is it far?


Immagine: Colfosco (BZ) con la val Mezdi nel gruppo del Sella, anni ’50, da cartolina.

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