Memento Mori: Italy

by Jennifer Franklin

In Sicily, where my grandmother was conceived,
forty-eight mourners are arrested for taking part
in a funeral procession in defiance of national
lockdown. They would rather risk three months
of jail than not bury their dead properly.
Oh, little island of Antigones, I see you waking
your brown hillsides with wooden Mary
in one hand, crucified Jesus in the other.

In Venice, children paint rainbows and hang them
out the windows to mirror the empty canals,
where their grandparents open their shuttered windows
and sing though their chests are tight and their
voices weak. They lift their gravel voices and sing
as if they were beautiful broken birds.

— from Juniper Volume 4, Issue 2