iii the march, Milan

245

we climb up to fog

where the Plain of Lombardy

is not plain

they are talking about sleet

it sounds like the end

of everything

the station clock

is haunted

by Benito Mussolini

the time is 1922

but we’re not going

to Roma Termini

no march today

but four men

approach us

through the atrium

the marble floor

the great steel canopy

ghosts without purpose

De Bono & Balbo

Bianchi & de Vecchi

they fade to black

among the Chinese

tourists taking

long-range selfies

with selfie-sticks

our taxi takes us

through Piazzale Loreto

where there are no ghosts

& no Esso station

& west past the Cimitero

towards a small room

where we invent better

futures by talking

about poetry & history

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William Wall is an Irish novelist, short fiction writer and poet. His work has been translated into several languages and he translates from Italian. His novel This Is The Country was longlisted for the 2005 Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Young Mind Prize and the Irish Book Awards. His short fiction and poetry have won many prizes including The Virginia Faulkner Award 2011. His most recent book - Ghost Estate, a volume of poems - has been translated into Italian as Le Notizie Sono (MobyDick Editore). More information from his website: williamwall.net ‘Wall, who is also a poet, writes prose so charged—at once lyrical and syncopated—that it’s as if Cavafy had decided to write about a violent Irish household.’ The New Yorker ‘Wall's touch with characterisation is light and deft: many illustrate themselves plainly with just a few lines of dialogue.’ The Guardian ‘He is such a writer - lyrical and cruel and bold and with metaphors to die for.’ Kate Atkinson Photograph by Herry Moore