Italian Horror

Don Ezra Cruz

Dove il gabbinetti? she asks.
And we know she’ll be lost forever
between this scene and the next, the sheet
lifted off her face, her parents there
to investigate in the basement
of the hospital. An attempt
on the mayor’s life, museum thefts,
security is heightened just as we are
aware the journey we’ve begun
cannot end happily. And no twist
in convention can save us. Even
with what lighting can convey,
down-struck on the mother’s eyes, fluorescent
and humming like the very spokes
of a scooter’s wheels as we pan out
backwards through the city, we’re lost
to the black that separates our home
from the next. We go for miles, talking
in a tunnel. The weight of something
outside rains in on us, audible
on occasion—a muffled laughter
or applause. Around us every face
we’ve ever seen has vanished. What’s left to find
are ghosts of ghosts, spaces that were held only
for a while. Shapes surrounded by white.
Stencil letters. The names of old familiarities
flapping wide and blank on a clothesline
until the wind them settles and the sun them bakes.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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DON EZRA CRUZ attended University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he studied creative writing, painting, and drawing. He is completing his MFA in writing at UNC Greensboro.