Cinque Terre

Between the train's long slide and the sun
ricocheting off the sea, anyone
would have fallen silent in those words,
the language of age in her face, the birds
cawing over the broken earth, gathering near its stones 
and chapel doors. In the marina, the sea and its bones 
have grown smaller. Though the tide is out, 
it is not the tide nor the feathers nor the cat 
that jumps into the street, the dust 
lifting with each wing and disappearing. The rust-
colored sheets that wrap the sails of ships, 
I don't know their name nor the way to say lips 
of water in Italian and mean this:  an old woman 
stood by the tracks until his hand stopped waving.

Jon Pineda, "Cinque Terre" from The Translator’s Diary. Copyright © 2008 by Jon Pineda.  Reprinted by permission of New Issues Press.
Source: The Translator's Diary (New Issues Press, 2008)