the madrigal, volume v
by valeria venditti
You were away long. While awaiting, I woke to my body. I suited the awareness of my longing.
I wasted nothing and waived my wishes. The quipping of the suitors did not distract my wilful
So, when you spell my name, don’t spell it by thinking of pain. Do not bend your tongue to
convey sadness. My loneliness was lively and luxurious. My senses lashed at trust. When you
spell my name, feel my fingers making out with the silk, feel the threads becoming my tendrils.
My body is a tapestry in the making.
And when you imagine my life, refrain from imagining dullness. Feel my consistency as the
greatest, the meekest adventure. Feel my tenacity composed as faith. Feel my waving as the
finest machinic endeavour to extoll my flesh. Feel my muscles becoming tense as I touch my
lips, as I cross my legs, as my feet graze the carpet. I have perused my domesticity and made
my home the sacred dome of my senses. I didn’t need the sun to push me to action, nor my
ambition was fuelled by the prospect of glory.
And when I let myself slip in the water, I learnt from the geese to slide slantly. When the duck
chasing her lover landed gleefully only to miss her target, I learnt the hapticity of distance. And
when she frowned the waters to salvage me, I learnt the industrious task of being responsive.
Of being careless. Of being aloof. Neither love, nor compassion guided me. It was a deed.
Ephemeral, innocent deed.
And so, you’ve never been my reward. My commitment sprang from my own pleasure. And
your retreat, your withdrawal, your treachery, your absence did not scratch my gracious
devotion. I was not disturbed by the prolonged silences. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t hopeful. I
bathe myself in the glory of my hands, in the spinning of my threads, in the relish of your
And when you came back in disguise, I listened to your lies and still, as long as you were there
and talking, I could not have desired to sleep. Or to step away. Or to throw myself to your feet,
on my knees, letting the tears smear the gentle powder that dressed my cheeks. There was no
sorrow in me, nor I was taming my craves or my aches.
And so, I sussed your presence. I tickled your need to be in control. I bit my tongue and suckled
your stories. And when I saw your presence faltering, your eyelid declining, I invited you to
lie on your bed, I saw your blossoming temper. I savoured your clatter. Endured your
redundancies. Until you clasped me to your chest.
valeria venditti landed in Cork in 2018. After spending a few months plotting a way to escape it, she realised she had developed the most profound devotion for Ireland and tried her best to stay and get her accent right. Currently she is a Lecturer in Ethics at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University College Cork. She mumbles daily on feminism and LGBT stuffs and has published a few academic rambles. She likes Lacan, the color green, sheep, coffee, hens, kale, rings, the Baroque, streams of water and eggs. She is still perfecting her "Ts" and her use of "like" in sentences, but, sure look, it's grand.