In the Fellini movie of your life
You drive a road through Tuscany.
Your sports car is Venetian red,
though color is illusory;
the celluloid is black and white.
You wear a kerchief on your head.
The cypress trees that line the way
are unshaken by the Tyrrhenian winds
(they’ve been waiting there for centuries)
as a Verdi serenade ascends
to vex the clouds that scud and sway;
the soundtrack of your infamy.
The ancestral home now fills the frame,
a monument of funereal gloom.
Your blood relations assemble where
they dine alfresco. It is noon.
The camera pivots on its crane.
The man you seek, he is not there.
The mourning widow cannot speak,
she hides behind her veil of tears.
Your brothers have surmised the truth
and think it grand, they gather near;
they take your hand, they kiss your cheek,
the bastard child of a misspent youth.
A sudden cut. The angle’s wide;
a hopeful girl on an empty strand
waves to Marcello across the shoal.
He cannot hear or understand
her words above the roiling tide.
He shrugs and bows, then turns to go.
The closing scene: as credits play,
the camera makes a pitiless trek
along infinite sand and infinite sky,
(all interpretation circumspect),
zooms in upon a bloated ray,
its steel grey disenchanted eye.
The wind abrades the earth
Of litter and leaf,
Rock cliff and ledge
Stripped to grief.
Water abrades the shore
Of what the child left;
The tide takes up the cry
Completing the theft.
Fire abrades the forest
Of each living thing;
Creatures flee before it
And birds take wing,
Yet find no rest on wire,
On limb or weathervane,
They circle till they tire
Then fall like rain
Into a mind that’s scoured
All trace memory—
They peck the half-healed heart,
The girl’s abraded knee.
Lisa McCabe lives and writes in Lahave, Nova Scotia. She studied film at York University in Canada and English Literature at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She has published (or has forthcoming) poetry and poetry reviews in The Sewanee Review, Orchards Poetry Journal, HCE Review, Better Than Starbucks, Anti-Heroin Chic and Trinity House Review, among other print and online journals.