I could be back to 1347 or 1348, when the Black Death killed one third of the Italian population. A pandemic coming by the seas, from trading with Asian markets. My blood’s mutation, Thalassemia Minor, due to my mom’s heritage and survivors from Sardinia, would rescue me. Oh yes, I would survive. I bet I would. Or, you know what? I could go back to the 1629–1631 bubonic plague, also called the Great Plague of Milan. A journey in my native city, where it claimed 25% of the people, my father’s people. So intriguing it became, almost two hundred years later, the backdrop for several chapters of The Betrothed, a novel by Alessandro Manzoni in 1827. But I’m here. 2020. And still Milan is the eye of the cyclone of another pandemic. I’m not scared to be here. I don’t know if they will call it a pandemic or a fake pandemic.... From The Divine Comedy, written by Dante Alighieri in 1320, in the V chant of Paolo and Francesca, they say that book about Sir Lancelot and Guinevere and its author were slaves of their love. He and I, too, are slaves, to virus and telephones. And I suppose the challenge for both of us: to cross an ocean now, me rooted in Milan and her secret underground paths, and him, in riots.
dripping from her mouth
—Previously posted to Senryu Circle (Facebook: 19 June 2020), and
appears here with author’s permission
is the author of Sunflower Moon (Red Moon Press, 2019) and founding editor of
Incense Dreams, a bilingual journal of Asian short-form poetry.
Her haiku and senryu have appeared in international print and web journals such as
Akitsu Quarterly, Blithe Spirit, Brass Bell, Cattails, Failed Haiku, Hedgerow,
Modern Haiku, Moonbathing, Stardust Haiku, The Asahi Shimbun, and The
Chrysanthemum, as well as in The Mainichi Shimbun, the historical
Japanese newspaper. Her poetry is also published in the American and British Haiku
For details about Ms. Fontana’s achievements, see
Our Staff on the About page of Haiku Commentary,
for which she serves as an editor. She is also a Buddhist, psychotherapist, mother,
and tango enthusiast.
Author’s blog: The Flowing Sound