Hinges slipping and about to give

By Marina Massenz
Translated by Johanna Bishop

I unwind my threads, unravel with

feigned patience inner skeins

in the drenched time, the heat transfixes

transforms the solid body

into liquid coverlet, meek bed

for a torrent an unendurable

static and embracing shroud. Kick and rip

in a restless frenzy of rending.


I wait often for the burglars, their doorless

arrival, silent powder puff,

I know their long limp snouts

are snuffling toward my treasures always

scattered too exposed,

I know that if there is a door it has rust

for locks hinges slipping and

about to give, but more often there is none.


Marina Massenz, based in Milan, is the author of the collections Nomadi, viandanti, filanti (Amadeus, 1995) and La ballata delle parole vane (L’Arcolaio, 2011). Her poetry and prose poetry has appeared in Accordi, Inverso, Qui – appunti dal presente, Il monte analogo, Poliscritture, Le voci della luna, and Vents Alizés, and in the online journals La poesia e lo spirito, Poesia da fare, and Nazione indiana. She is also one of Italy’s leading psychomotricity practitioners and has published three books in her field.

Johanna Bishop has been a full-time translator since 2004, primarily of books on contemporary art. Her poetry translations have been published by Guernica Editions (“For the Maintenance of Landscape” by Mia Lecomte, with Brenda Porster), and by TheFLR, Italian Poetry Review, and Journal of Italian Translation. She lives near Florence.