The 2River View 26.4 (Summer 2022)

Federica Santini


This girl hunts with foxes at night: she comes back at dawn, moon-face
caked in blood, her hands of wild leaves forgotten paths, undergrowth of
green secrets the fine twisted threads of her hair

Certain girls fall

Roots whisper deep in her pulses, rhizomes tied to knobs of tree-organs as
the forest trembles and turns in her womb ripe with shapes yet unknown

Certain girls fall

This girl pulsates with womb-forests at night: from the inside the lake has
a lake underneath waters still blank -- still waters breaking

Certain girls can see through it all


oh hope that always swells and often falls

What if your first memory is of a well and the boy stuck at the bottom? What if
your entire generation is defined by that same memory, the kid falling, falling and
stuck for what seems like weeks, broadcasted in black and white

at once being born and dying

except for the first few color TVs in the large houses of rich kids, inside the flats of
poor kids whose parents only own that one thing, the big TV stuck in the middle
of the living/dining/kitchen, two small bedrooms

and yet a worm is gnawing at my heart

grandma shares with the lady next door who’s a widow anyhow, and has space?
What if all you retain, all of you, is the don’t fall, stay away, lurking behind your
lids as you avoid

made up of icy jealousy and fear

potholes and imaginary traps, white rabbits and artesian wells of wisdom and
secrets? Rushing out on your bike and the fall lurking before dinner and what
when at last you do fall? That’s why you keep falling

at once deprived and failing

[Note: the lines in italics are free translations/recastings from a sonnet by Gaspara Stampa (1523-1554)]

Federica Santini teaches at Kennesaw State University. She holds an MA from the University of Siena and a PhD from UCLA. She has authored or edited four volumes on poetics and her poetry has been published in numerous journals internationally. She is the author of Unearthed (Kelsay Books, 2021). (academic page)

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