Accetta questo ultimo messaggio
tatuato con inchiostro nero sulla mia
caviglia, dove un anno fa una zanzara
neozelandese mi punse. Non mi fece
male—l’attesa fu più tormentata, atroce.
È in arabo, merletto di Burano, ancora carica
di luce solare, lo stesso sole
che mi bruciò la pelle quando,
senza sospettare che tu esistessi—
eppure i tuoi occhi li avevo già
incontrati in sogno—visitai l’Oman,
Nizwa, Mascate, brulicanti
viola colline scozzesi, senz’erica
e senza nuvole.
Se non può essere amore, lascia che sia
amicizia.          Habib.          Un nome.
Ma sulla mia pelle simbolo
permanente, inciso—
amico guerriero amante miracolo perdizione.
Lo dono a te.

Listen to Rossella Riccobono read ‘Tatuaggio



Accept this final message
written in black ink on my ankle,
over the same space where a sand fly
bit me last year. It didn’t hurt
that much—expectation
was more painful, atrocious.
It’s Arabic, lacey, still soaked
with solar heat, the same
that scorched my skin
when I, without suspecting
you existed—yet I knew your eyes
in many a dream—visited Oman,
Nizwa, Muscat, bright
heatherless Scottish hills,
only no rain, no clouds in sight.
If it can’t be love, let it be
friendship.          Habib.          A word.
But on my skin, permanent
symbol, engraved—
friend warrior lover miracle perdition.
It’s a gift.

Listen to Rossella Riccobono read ‘Tattoo’


Rossella Riccobono is a graduate of the University of Padua (Italy) and has a PhD in poetry from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland). She writes both poetry and short stories and is working on the publication of her first poetry volume ‘States of mind’. Her poems have recently been published in Real Life Bird Song (Wai-te-ata Press), First Wellington International Poetry Festival Anthology (HeadworX), and The New New Zealanders: an anthology of immigrant experiences in NZ (Inkweed). She is a very proud mother of Gianluca (6) and Hannah Elisa (2).