Come Back

Come Back

Come back, come back to me—now that I’m old—
not love, but you, the shadow of love, fashioned
from quiet and quotidian things, glimpses
of rooftops, alleyways, of open windows
where lovers first espy the imminence
of their own loving, or from sickroom skylights
with their careworn parade of painful days,
the shadowy refuge that vanishes
the way a wild duck, shot in mid-flight,
drops suddenly to vanish in the marsh,
just a few feathers drifting in the air:
I am a shimmering reality
that has no purpose,
unless you return, love, shadow of love,
o cherished sleep, and grant me your repose.


[Translated from the Italian by Dana Gioia]