“Dear Galileo,” by Gus Varallo

Gus Varallo (age 13)


You hesitated
before stepping into the villa. Forced
only by the point
of my spear. You made
sure to close
the door
slowly, knowing you’d
never do it again.

When I patrol
your gardens I see
you, looking
out of the window, upwards beyond
the wooden
frame. You’re a painting,
colored with the stars
and the Sagrantino vines
that surround you.

There is no God
here. Only trees
and ferns and even wineries
if you look far enough.
There’s either hills
or plains, both strangled
by the tall grass.
There’s an overgrown dirt
road to your courtyard.
There’s my polished
spear, unworn. Recurring
rains, wasps, fresh rosemary
next to ivy, me trying to carry the weight
of watching your purgatory.
And there’s you squinting
through the window, trying
to get through the underbrush
and back into the world.

from 2020 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Gus Varallo: “I always discover new things about myself when I write poetry. When I write poetry, I am able to define my values outside of the pressure of others, and the ability to do this gives me a greater sense of freedom and individuality.”

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