«–i] [MMX.Vii.XXii] Chiara Barzini: Volcanoes [text & image] [+i »

I stood on top of overlapping volcanoes. They were perfect, volcano one and volcano two, two ruptures in the earth’s crust. Dry, firm, and inactive. No lava, just craters, and no possibility to move beyond them. They were old craters, from prehistoric times, a time when they rumbled. Some said they had formed when a giant meteorite crashed into the earth three hundred thousand years ago, but I sensed pyroclastic flows still boiling beneath my feet.

I walked to the border of the first crater thinking I could reach green spaces, vast lands, and pastures, but each time I reached the edge, I bounced right back inside crater number two. They overlapped almost precisely onto one another. Only a small strip of land revealed they were in fact two craters, placed almost precisely on top of one another within the same plane. I could see the open space from where I stood. There were meadows, Pine trees, nests, thorns, and wild rabbits running through the shrubs. Every color was vivid. Everything outside the crater, as far as I could see, occurred on just one, magnificent plane. No overlaps. Things were one of a kind out there. Each tree different from the other, each rabbit placed unsymmetrical upon a field. That’s where I was trying to go, where things were one, not like a traced pencil drawing.

Chiara Barzini

I dashed towards that vivid green like a magnet to metal, but when I reached the pastures, I fell right back inside. I walked above and below the crater like a trapped tiger.

There was a man on the crater’s edge who had come to fill a bucket of drinking water for a bull. I reached out for his hand and asked him for help. He grabbed my fingers and began to run. We ran hand in hand along the crater’s perimeter. Side by side, he was out, I was in, but when it was time to leap towards him, I fell back inside again.

The man turned back and smiled, “I’ll come back for you!” I was so excited I tripped and almost fell on my face. I waited there, on the strip of land where the craters overlapped. He said he would bring back a plank I could use to escape.

I sat on a rock. There were seagulls in the distance and the sun was summery. The bull was calm so I fell asleep. My throat was parched but I didn’t bother to find water because I knew he would be back for me with buckets of water and juices. I ate weeds, then inscribed my name upon the highest stone in the mountain. I made a ball from manure and played with it imagining the crater as a large soccer field. I practiced running and jumping waiting for the man to return. I ran from one border to the next laughing and panting. I didn’t mind sweating and feeling the sharp pain in my waist. I didn’t mind that one leg felt shorter than the other, that a dog suddenly appeared on the mountaintop and chased me around barking. I was so happy I even started liking it up there. I waited a night and a day. The man didn’t return. He called me from the foot of the mountain. His voice was like a party. He said, “Here I am. Here I am. I am working on it!” He never came.

I walked to the tip of the basin, slipped over into crater number two, and decided I would stay there forever. No more crater hopping and waiting. Maybe the magma chamber beneath me would erupt and wipe away the thin strip of land that kept bringing everything back to the way it just was.

Chiara Barzini was born in Rome and raised as a teenager in Los Angeles, where she became obsessed with canyons, quartz, and the Grateful Dead. When she moved to New York she steered her fascinations towards the discovery that a huge slab of granite beneath the city of Manhattan is the reason why nobody there is able to walk or think slowly. The absence of a mineral subterranean life and psychedelia in the city of Rome, made her return to the homeland a bit harsh, but opened her up to new interests including: abandoned castles and the nightlife of cattle. She lives in a remodeled barn inside the Castle of Torre in Pietra with her dog Sonnie and her partner Luca. Films written by her have been distributed in Italy, Spain, Japan, and Latin America. Her stories have been featured or will soon be featured in Noon, Encyclopedia Project, The New Review of Literature, Or Magazine, Smyles & Fish, and Sweet Action: Porn for Girls.

|| home || archives || news || submit ||masthead|| 5¢ense ||