In the seething almost Indian heat
of an exaggerated July in the city
the remaining inhabitants cautiously
sit at length in the cafés
looking for air that is not there.
In my closed house, with nothing to do,
I busy myself with your face
which coolly enters the war
of my thoughts and leaves intact,
as though it were a rubber blob
that even if it’s pushed or squeezed
always goes back to its original shape,
the inert buoy of the mind
which the more you push it down
the more it pops back up.

—Translated from the Italian by Mark Strand with Gini Alhadeff