On Via San Lucifero, nestled among the prickly pears, there is a house with cracks in the plaster. The plaster is painted the color of the inside of an almond but mottled here and there with patches of blackish mold like rot. Against the house there is a vine of red bougainvillea that creeps up the walls and clings to the shutters that cover the windows. The wooden shutters, splintered and sun bleached, keep the mid afternoon heat that bakes the clay tiles on the roof from coming in. In the kitchen of the house on Via San Lucifero there is an old woman with grey teeth, pale pink rubber lips and sweat marbled brows who bakes pardule day in and day out; three hundred thousand of them but not one of them right, not one of them just as they had been long ago. In the room next to the kitchen in the house on Via San Lucifero there is a small bedroom with a smattering of plastic stars stuck to the ceiling draped in webs, decked with the carcasses of dead spiders and the iridescent wings of moths, a Milky Way of death and decay. In the corner there is a bed that no one has slept in for years. With the black silhouette of the Gennargento stuck against the violet sky like a paper cut-out in a child’s diorama, the woman cried and cupped her wrinkled face in her hands, feeling the hot sting of tears melting down her wrists, her neck, drying into salt crystals as they dissolved into her chest where a child’s hand once reached. That same day, on the beach at Cala Gonone, there was a merchant who sold a girl an orange headband with a floral pattern on the fabric as she dried herself off in the sun after swimming in salt water the colour of the sky. He spoke to her fluently in three different languages, switching between them with a click of his tongue across his pearlescent teeth. He waited patiently for her to form a coherent sentence in either of the three languages they shared but all she could say was scusami, désolée, I’m so sorry.
Claudia Lundahl is an artist and writer from New York City who currently lives in London, England. Her work has been featured in many marvelous places.