Poet / Bergamo, the most heavily stricken city in Europe with 400 deaths in one single week. In 14 day quarantine due to extraordinary measures.
Italian, 33, I'm an amateur poet and a compulsive reader. Intellectual, aloof, full of contradictions.


Ambulance #10 echoes down the street
Flickering blue lights in the sunny afternoon
I look up from the book
Rub my eyes and
Breathe it all in
The flowered balcony
With the prematurely blossoming wisteria
The greyish shadow of the awning flapping in the breeze
The chirping birds I can't see nor name
(Ambulance #11)
bee sucking on a juicy chalice, buzzing quizzically
around it, plunging again into it
Over and over, a mating ritual
And the cat's furry warmth
Sprawled on my lap
I wonder if they ever dream
I don't think they do
They need no escape from a life they've learnt to ignore
Thus making it their own
Crows in the wheat field, church bells — three o'clock
Smell of the orange I'm peeling
Ambulance #12 is for the house across the street
Enters the driveway, turns round the house
Can't see it anymore
I've never seen them being taken away
Snatched away
Stripped away
Like toxic waste
Destination unknown
They say —
(Ambul... no, this one's a fire truck)
(Oh yeah there it is. Ambulance #13)
— they say they're conscious when they die, deprived of
All those who ever loved them
Or at least knew their names
God I'd rather be thrown into a volcano
Than end up in a plastic bag
Hands pulling the zipper
Rolling me out on squeaking wheels
I'd rather be pulverised atom by atom
And leave no trace at all, clean dignified disappearance
I ask to be spared the ultimate torment
Of dying
With a taste of déjà-vu in my mouth

The cat purrs, stirs
Soft plump spotted belly
And suddenly awakens, jumps off
Emerald eyes as big as saucers
Stretching and yawning at the world's miseries
What's the siren of Ambulance #14 supposed to mean for him
On such an impossibly beautiful day
Under the bluest sky he's ever seen
As long as the air is cool and clean
And a daring butterfly tickles his nose

© Neptune and Manisha Anjali