For No Reason at All

Poetry / Catherine Arra

They loop time
their lives, rings on a slinky
silvering through a wormhole
      Brooklyn
            Ellis Island
                  Mussolini
                        Unification
                              the hard-baked hills of Sicily.

I follow four generations

      to the lamplighter in Grammichele
      walk the six-sided polygon of streets
      carry a torch and kerosene
      repeat       sera       sera       buona sera       to passersby
      accept a glass of beer in the piazza.

What connective tissue, webbed DNA binds us?
Tenders me to this American port
rocking in the tides of my life
      another ring
            looping
                  spinning
                        deeds
                              days?

I went to Grammichele barely able to speak the dialect

      walked the perimeter and spokes of the hexagon
      bought cemetery daisies for the concrete vase
      at the generational grave, kneeled up close
      to their images ovaled in marble
      their eyes alive             looking back.

Is something calling beyond my ability to sense
or hear?
Is it in the dust twinkling beneath closed eyelids
spiraling
to
a
single
locus?

I left that summer afternoon
after siesta, after prosecco in the piazza
sun still burning high Sicilian blue.

The streetlights, each now electric
      lighted
            one
                  after another
                        after another

for no reason at all said the locals
when I asked, why?

Per no ragione affatto.

Catherine Arra lives in upstate New York. Her poetry and prose have been published in various journals, online and in print. Recently her work has appeared in Nine Mile, Compass, Writer Advice and The Timberline Review. She has released two chapbooks, Slamming & Splitting (Red Ochre Press, 2014) and Loving from the Backbone (Flutter Press, 2015).