You used to come on Friday afternoons
on the boat from Piombino,
in a light city suit.
You were always the first to get off.
You congratulated me and Mom
on our tans, improved week by week.
At the sea you complimented us
on our feats in the water,
but you never joined in our games.
You observed us from the deckchair,
tidying back your hair.
You stayed back,
enjoying the spectacle of your children growing.
You stayed a short time at the sea,
less than every other father.
Then you would come back,
the first to enter the gangway,
taking you to land. I tried
to imagine how long in the darkness,
far from the landscape, you would wait
in front of the exit door before docking,
making sure to be the first to get off
and embrace us. I was measuring
the patience of your impatience.
(Translation by Jody Joseph)