[I worked with death in my heart for a month] by Franca Mancinelli, translated by Allison Grimaldi Donahue

“I worked with death
in my heart for a month.”
And eyes overflow at the thought
of nights when on the other side
of the bed a river was blocked
slow with garbage. And then in deep
sleep a giant dock
reconnected life with four bridges.
For twenty years we’ve slept
together and only now
do I know that blood
goes from my atrium to his.
Franca Mancinelli has published two books of poetry, Mala kruna (Manni, 2007) and Pasta madre (Mother dough) (Nino Aragno, 2013). A preview of her second book of poetry has appeared in Nuovi poeti italiani 6, edited by Giovanna Rosadini (Einaudi, 2012). Her works are featured in several anthologies, including XIII Quaderno italiano di poesia contemporanea, curated by Franco Buffoni (Marcos y Marcos, 2017). She contributes as a critic to Poesia and other literary journal and reviews. She is an editor for the literary review Smerilliana, the poetry almanac Argo – annuario di poesia and the blog and publishing project Interno poesia. Her texts have been translated into English, Spanish, Arabic, Slovenian. She is currently working on a book of short prose.

Allison Grimaldi Donahue is a writer and translator whose work has appeared in places like Words Without Borders, Electric Literature, Gramma Poetry, The Brooklyn Rail, Dead King Magazine, Cosmonauts Avenue and VersoDove. In 2016 she published her chapbook Body to Mineral with Publication Studio Vancouver. She has been an NEA Fellow at the Vermont Studio Center and a Bakeless Fellow at the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference. She is fiction editor at Queen Mob’s Teahouse and associate editor for translations at Anomaly. She is a PhD candidate at the European Graduate School and teaches writing at John Cabot University, Rome. She is currently working on a book of essays.