David Cappella

The Clothespin

La vita è triste ed io son solo.
—Dino Campana
The clothespin hangs on the gray line
Halfway between the stolid oak and the house.
I see an orange angel, perched like a bird,
Solitary, still, as snow falls straight down.
Its presence sags slightly in my mind,
Suspended, as though caught away from heaven,
It has decided to endure winter’s mortal grip.
An angel? I ask myself gazing out at it
From the kitchen window. Why an angel?
Angels do not visit a man alone at home,
One relaxed in the fears of his life.
I have noticed the pin since early fall: in slippers,
Naked after a shower, opening a bottle of wine.
But I have never noticed an angel in the backyard.
The house is empty. I think that I am terrified.
The wind is on the rise. I hear its deep yearning.
There is nowhere to hide in this world, except the self.
And the strains of love are nowhere to be found.
In winter, there is nothing left,
Except icy stars staring down, tense,
Waiting for me to stare up at them,
To grasp my longing, to endure this vision
Of beauty that provokes distracted eyes.
It is dusk. I lean over the kitchen sink,
Strain to eye the clothespin, indifferent
To the snow, my gaze, and all suffering.
So, I turn away and leave the clothespin on the line.


David Cappella