[The truth is names choose us]


The truth is names choose us
even before they’re pronounced.
On the walls, at the curbs,
in the vases of carnations and hydrangeas, 
in the lines of water that streak
the windows each morning, in
the laced-up shoes, on the buzzers
of doorbells, in the abandoned
stations. On everything a name
gathers. It shines from everything.

And one who flees names knows 
that none escape being hailed, 
that names tie knots
of truth cinched tight, 
constricted syllables shaped
too tight to talk. Shaped to hurt.

The names that chose me
found no corners to illuminate. 
Their meanings receded
as I dug into each
letter. I was looking for loopholes,
for arcana to examine
to make sense of myself.

I renounced them and with them 
the arrogance of definition.
The foolishness of searching 
words for truth.

The truth is reality
slept right under my nose, 
buried in a mute heap
of names.

translated from the Italian by Gabriella Fee & Dora Malech