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Poetry / Daniele Pantano

'The Stranger' and

'Homecoming (Langenthal)'

Issue 1. February 01, 2021


I saw her in the mirror of the burnt hall
Her black hair spreading across Europe


from Dogs in Untended Fields: Selected Poems by Daniele Pantano (Zurich: Wolfbach Verlag, 2015)


The afternoon bell peals the children out of school.

They say it’s great to see you after all these years.

You can’t look at them. But you believe them.

The missing parents are wading through the rust.

You can’t make yourself believe in the end of winter.

Back in the eighties, the papers called this place a Neonazinest.

Clear signs. Several cats have been laid out upon a tarp.

Porcelain bowls. Twigs pointing toward the birdbath.

There are no spontaneous protests going on anywhere.   

On March 13, your mother shot herself in the head.

The names of the rivers keep changing. A downpour.

Where are the birds? A lifting and flying above the landfill.

Nearby, time is running out. You’d better stay here.

A Tamil man hung from the streetlight. A murmuration.

A golden flag with three rivers. There is so much to lose.

Far from here a perfect Klee sky. A handful of dark ash. 

It is March 14. The indispensable and necessary.

There’s a mute crowd coming from the other room.

You are the crowd coming from the other room. 


First published in Bayou Magazine (University of New Orleans), 2019.

Daniele Pantano is a Swiss poet, essayist, and literary translator. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared widely, and his poems have been translated into several languages, including Albanian, Farsi, French, German, Italian, Kurdish, Russian, Slovenian, and Spanish. His most recent works include Kindertotenlieder: Collected Early Essays & Letters & Confessions (Hesterglock Press, 2019), Robert Walser: Comedies (Seagull Books, 2018), ORAKL (Black Lawrence Press, 2017), Robert Walser’s Fairy Tales: Dramolettes (New Directions, 2015), and Dogs in Untended Fields: Selected Poems by Daniele Pantano (Wolfbach Verlag, 2015). Pantano taught at the University of South Florida (where he was also Director of the Writing Center), served as the Visiting Poet-in-Residence at Florida Southern College, and directed the creative writing programme at Edge Hill University, where he was Reader in Poetry and Literary Translation. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Programme Leader for the MA Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln. For more information, please visit

Poetry / Daniele Pantano: Text
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