Spring 1991 • Vol. XIII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 1991 |

Lifting the Morning

              for Sally and Salvatore On the Isle of Ischia we ate our morningMeals just beyond a line of sleeping AmericanBombs laid pillar to post underThe wine cellar's lime-washed walls. The sun laughed among rocks paintedDull metal-gray to match those souvenirs of warUninvited yet ingeniously placed in perfect fit, And there, where I was more American than black Or almost Ethiopian, I came to know what else Could fit Italian mornings: pastel houses shoredBy a bedrock of bombs, the sea glinting In the distance, and a mixture of languages Circling the breakfast table like water seekingIts own level. I was fresh from months Of struggling with uncertain light And never questioned belonging in that Neapolitan Profusion of flower petals, bread, cheese And the day's first rock salt smell of the sea Just before the water turns oily with sun. In that garden of muted bombs, the sun blessed us While behind us the mission church glowed white Wi

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Colleen J. McElroy is author of Blood Memory (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). McElroy is professor emerita at the University of Washington and lives in Seattle, Washington.

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