Anny Ballardini

It was more or less this period last year and my father was at the rehabilitation clinic and one morning I go up early as I have always done and my father is not there, and so I ask the first nurse, where is my father, and the nurse tells me that they knew I would arrive thus my father’s doc said that I should talk to another doc because he would not be there and to wait, but has something happened I asked out of my breath, and the nurse tells me to wait there patiently, and I have to wait there on the chair at the entrance when I finally see the doc walk by and I run after him and ask him where my father is, and he tells me that they did all the exams and among the many there was the one for tuberculosis and that until they have the results, my father’s doc decided he should keep his patient in isolation. In isolation? But my father has never had tuberculosis, you can see it easily, and the doc tells me that yes, it is logical, but that is what my father’s doc has said, and that we have to comply and lets me understand that he does not agree but that he cannot do anything. So I go to this little room and I am forced to wear a mask and my father sure he is there and he smiles over and I try to let him know that I am smiling that this is a folly and I explain him why and since Seamas Cain had written me that also his grandpa had a stroke and that them kids spent a lot of time reading to him, I pick up my book and start spending my days reading to my father, and my father’s doc comes over once in a while and tells me that I can take it easy and stay at home that my father is well there and he anyhow needs to sleep a lot, and I notice that he has been bloody sleeping more than usual, but I keep on reading and I read and read hours on end. And after a week the doc comes to tell us that the exams are negative that my father does not suffer from tuberculosis, and I tell him that we have all known that since the beginning, and I ask him if I can take him to the physiotherapist because he needs to move and he says yes, so here we go to the gym, but then he runs after us to tell me that to be sure he has to take another test, another test to make sure he does not suffer from tuberculosis, and I try to understand how it is possible and he speaks some things that do not make any sense and I try to speak again and again and the order is that I have to take my father back to his room, and I take him back and he has to be isolated again for another week. And logically the exams at the end of the week are negative.

In August in Italy everybody goes on holiday, it is terrible methinks to have to manage so many people who get sick in August and priority is given to those who are less problematic, and one night I also overheard my father’s doc talking to the nurse in the corridor: “Patient X very probably will wake up in the middle of the night, lets just give him some more drops so that all problems will be postponed to tomorrow, okay?”

Thus, thus thus thus

On the train on my way back in the evening I have a little notebook and I keep on singing in my head the Talking Heads refrain: God Help Us Help Us To Survive (I realize in this moment that the actual wording is ‘surmise’ in Slippery People: God help us, help us to surmise their plans, their schemes), while writing it in a very intricate drawing of colorful letters. I think God is deaf, I think God is blind, I think God does not exist. I think it is all a farce. That is what I think in this moment. God Help Us Help Us To Survive.

     August, 2010, Villa Rosa (TN - Italy)

A translator and interpreter, Anny Ballardini holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans. She has recently won a scholarship for a Ph.D in English at the U of Verona, teaches high school; edits Poet’s Corner, an online poetry site; and writes a blog: Narcissus Works. She has translated several contemporary poets into Italian and English. Her collections of poetry: Opening and Closing Numbers, was published by Moria Press in 2005; Ghost Dance in 33 Movements by Otoliths appeared in print in 2009. Online books: Instruments of Change, Architecting Fate: Arakawa and Gins, Architecture and Philosophy. Together with Obododimma Oha, she is the Editor of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change Anthology.
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