[EXCLUSIVE] LOVE: Ilaria Maria Sala

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LOVE: A Reading
jointly organised by
Cha and Bleak House Books
Date: Friday 17 September 2021
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: Bleak House Books
Moderator: Tammy Lai-Ming Ho

First performed at LOVE: A Reading, these are original poems by Ilaria Maria Sala. We are grateful to have the opportunity to feature them in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.

So Many Mothers, So Little Love
by Ilaria Maria Sala

There was a day in which I saw the traces on the pavement
The day after
I read in the newspaper:
You Must Love Us

I asked Stacey if Flora had left but
She asked Jessie if we could send them something
From outside
The day after
The radio said:
You Must Love Us

A long queue of people wearing black clothes and tears
Was pushed up the hill
A television in a shop broadcast:
You Must Love Us

Demons In My Eyes
by Ilaria Maria Sala

Margaret Mead use to make a perfect dressing for her salads.
I copied it down from the book you borrowed, and left with.
I used to think it would keep reminding you of me
But you probably never opened it.
I had demons in my eyes when I looked for it
I had demons in my eyes when I looked for you
Under the absence, the excuses and the lies
I had demons.

Sometimes I dress my salads fancily.
You said to always put the whole plant in
A root, a stem, leaves and fruits. Maybe seeds and flowers, too.
You seemed surprised when I told you I still do it
It made you feel good and prevented you from noticing
I had demons in my eyes when I made that salad
I had demons in my eyes as I dressed it
Demons in my eyes as I looked for you.

I was killing ants, the last time you saw me.
You were tying your shoes and pointed at them
I thought it would please you if I killed them
But I have felt bad about those ants ever since that day.
I had demons in my eyes as I sprayed poison
Demons in my eyes ever since
Searching for you with demons in my eyes.


Ilaria Maria Sala is a writer and a ceramist, based in Hong Kong. She writes in English and Italian, and occasionally in other languages. She is the author of three books (the latest, Pechino 1989, published in 2019 in Italian, is a memoir in words and photos.) Her writing has appeared on The New York TimesChaThe GuardianLe Monde, Zolimaand many other publications. People drink and eat from her ceramics in three continents. [Return to Table of Contents.]

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