“Petrarch on West 115th Street"
by Marion Shore
Final Judge: Charles Martin
on West 115th Street
Piu volte Amor m'avea gia detto—Scrivi
Back in those days a never-ending feature
of my life was that I seemed to be
in love—most often, unrequitedly—
when you became my mentor, soulmate, preacher.
I'd fallen hard for my Italian teacher,
and I took refuge in your company,
you who saw my heart, who spoke for me
the words I never told a living creature.
And that is when I had the inspiration
to translate you. Then on the pretext of
asking for his advice on my translation,
O mio maestro, I let you speak the love
I held inside, and still he never knew.
Petrarch, maybe I even out-Petrarched you.