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Nicholas Manning – from The Pisan Notebooks

Nicholas Manning


from The Pisan Notebooks
656.

    Inside my mind, the snow is falling upon the piazza. It is like you: a thing quiet, and not to
be seen. It covers the roofs, and the gardens, and the empty streets. It fills the shadows with
memories. Poor town! You who wanted only to forget, and who is not forgotten like the
desolate places.
    We walk out into it. Marco is here. He puts his hand down and brings up snow. We look
down at it: the mound in Marco’s hands, and see that it is not a handful of snow, but a handful
of pale white blossoms.
    There is a bead of blood forming at the corner of each of our mouths.
    Marco holds the blossoms up into the air. (Some float away on the wind.) We see that the
night wraps around them, and draws out of the petals many fine strings of light.
    The blossoms become a dove. For a moment the bird is frightened: it cannot fly, but sits
quivering in Marco’s hands. We each place the drop of blood from our lips upon the bird’s
forehead.
    Then Marco raises his hands up, and the bird flies away.

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