Diana Festa

From the forth coming 20th Anniversary Anthology

The Gathering
poems by Diana Festa

After Umberto Eco’s
The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
The soil’s peculiar smell,
fog filtering into clusters of trees,
rain on pavement,
the earthy odor of artichokes,
sweetness of sage, salt in sea air,
pungent tea leaves steaming
in blades of sun–
the planet is saturated with scents.
But there is the desperate loneliness
of parallel lines, unscented, untouching
in a firmament of curves and corners,
seeking solace, a whiff of life
in fragrances.
I navigate among them
in sun-drenched breeze from the desert,
mountains that repeat mountains.
Every step holds
traces of forgotten aims—
and oh, the fear of not finding
the way home.
I do not know how to land
on solid ground, or change my course,
how to leave my parallel-line solitude,
the weighty suspense
in the allegory of loss.
Selective Recollections
Happy families are all alike.
Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
Little gifts, a Limoges saucer, a Murano flower—
a cumulous of objects in cumulous of years.
I forget who gave the saucer, a vase, a pitcher.
There were letters, often so lovely
they may still be warming pages in some books.
But most went, buried
with days of the past, love notes, dried flowers.
When I left the old house, I walked away
from a cabinet where faces stilled
by the camera smiled in distant sun—
the children, the man I loved.
I hold a convergence of lights in my memory,
and there is no room for photographs
with their unchanging mien.
Remembrance makes its own choice,
elective instants within recurring images.
What do I remember of you?
A myriad instants—
walks at the beach in paling dusk, dinners
at our favorite restaurant, afternoons
by book stalls along the Seine, rocking train rides—
nothing extraordinary,
the simple story we shared,
the quiet pace of our days,
the rhythm of our breathing.