Diego Lama

Translated by Rose Facchini

I’m deeply in love. I’m very shy. I love Rebecca. I don’t dare tell her.

I’ve written it on a piece of paper, but I dare not tell her. I’m afraid she might find it, so I hide it in an envelope, then I hide the envelope in a notebook, I hide the notebook in a bag, the bag in a drawer, the drawer in an armoire, the armoire in a room, the room in a cellar, the cellar under my house, my house on a dead end.

I steer clear of that dead-end street.

I haunt other avenues.

On one, I find a villa. In the villa there is an attic; in the attic, there is a rug; under the rug, a trap door; beyond the trap door, a trunk; in the trunk, a bundle; in the bundle, a jewelry box; in the jewelry box, a diary; in the diary, an envelope; in the envelope, a piece of paper; on the piece of paper, there is a love poem written by her, because she too is shy.

But she loves another.

God Is Slow

God creates the universe and everything else, but it doesn’t take seven days. It takes centillions upon centillions of centuries because the universe is octillions upon octillions of light years big and contains decillions upon decillions of clusters, quadrillions upon quadrillions of galaxies, quintillions upon quintillions of stars, sextillions upon sextillions of planets, etcetera. But God is slow. One eon for Him is like a matter of seconds for us. That’s the problem. In fact, while he’s creating the solar system and watching it spin around the sun like a top, He notices that gas is lumping together into spheres and forming planets—some gaseous, others solid. What do you know! He cries out, or rather, booms. His exclamation hasn’t yet finished echoing among the galaxies and the solid planets have already condensed, warmed, and cooled. God approaches one of these pitiful little spheres (the third one) and discovers that it’s already covered in a hard crust pocked with thousands of volcanoes. And while God leans in for a better look, they’ve already become dormant, and everything is covered in clouds. Drat. God tries to spy through the clouds, and while He’s spying, they thin out; the Earth is green and there’s an ocean, and from the ocean emerge strange creatures, which at this point have already left the water and become enormous reptiles that eat each other. Gosh, God mutters, not even time to, to, to—God doesn’t have time to finish His thought when a little mouse has already transformed into a species of monkey, and the monkey lost its fur and is walking. Goodness gracious, God curses, by golly, he adds, while the monkey, by now a man, is already lifting his eyes to the heavens and aiming questions, doubts, fears, pleas, judgments, and he calls Him, begs Him, adores Him, and then prays, then blasphemes: where the hell are you, God? God, are you there? God would like to respond: I’m here, I’m here! And I love you! But He doesn’t do it in time, He’s too slow; all the humans are already extinct. In their place are little phosphorescent cockroaches that light up the darkness on Earth, then they too disappear. My goodness, life goes by in a flash, murmurs God while the universe fades like a firework in the night. Heavens to betsy.

Diego Lama is an architect from Naples, Italy. He has won several literary prizes, including the 2015 Premio Tedeschi for his novel La collera di Napoli (Giallo Mondadori) and the 2015 Premio Gran Giallo Città di Cattolica for his short story “Tre cose” (Giallo Mondadori).

Rose Facchini is a Lecturer in Italian at Tufts University and the Associate Editor and Italian Translator Editor for the International Poetry Review (IPR). Her translations appear in 365tomorrowsIntrinsick, and IPR.