Caulonian Suite: II. Caulonia Supriore

As the end of March approaches, I think of southern Italy – Calabria – the tiny town of Caulonia Superiore where we spent the weeks leading up to Easter and watched it unfold around us.

Bonnie McClellan-Broussard


for Matthew

The sky roils;

swallows knit webbed gyres

among the baroque sag of rooftops.

Across the way they’re fixing one;

new russet barrel tiles sealed over

old timber bones.

I hear a sound like the pounding

Of a battering ram or the cleaving

Of an immense stump

Contrapunted with a loud HUP.

My daughter sleeps with the abandon

of an unfettered shutter swinging in a stiff wind.

A woman in her fifties climbs the stairs

to the house where she and my daughter

were both conceived.

We regard each other with

that part of the eye

which admits an alternate aim.

The pounding stops.

The church bells go off

with the percussive invective

of a fire alarm


They say it’s peculiar to here:

someone sounds the bell

not with the pull of a knotted rope

but with the unlevered force of arms.

This is the…

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By bonniemcclellan

Mother, poet, american ex-pat from Texas living in Northern Italy.

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