The contacts

Do you see how I am 

twisted, contracted? 

You see this foot, 

when I sit down, how do I put it on? 

It is all for the effort, over many years, 

not to hurt people. Pressed 

against a seat, on the overcrowded bus, 

to stay in place, to avoid 

my neighbors 

from even the slightest contact. 

On the benches in the waiting rooms 

or on the train, in the corridor, it was painful 

every moment to feel the darkness 

of my knee and theirs brush against me. 

Hours and hours, whole days: one next to the other 

we used to be like the flavors of ice cream 

in the station bar. 

Of true between us, of right, 

the space of two fingers was left.

Umberto Fiori (Italy, 1949, from Tutti, 1998, Marcos Y Marcos, translation by Slow Words)

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