A search for lightness against the weight of living
fantasy is a place where it rains...
This city without a river refuses to yield up its past
inscribed like lines on the palm of a hand.
But it’s there in the trickle of the tortoise fountain,
the corner of the winding street where
washing hangs near the synagogue by a pink wall,
in the reflections of the mullioned windows
or peanut sell’s booth,
those iron grills and the evening’s insistent bell;
even in the rain drip-dripping from the purple
udders of wisteria.
Tomorrow I might go out and meet myself
in a shop window, sit in a café to eat
black olives and bread, write in my notebook.
We travel to discover who we are.
But tonight I’ll simply undo the buttons
of my white blouse,
toss it on a chair
to sleep alone beneath these old stars
Reading the City
What I no longer am
but might have been
lies in wait for me somewhere
in the heart of this ancient city.
The life of that woman
hanging her washing on the line
above the square –
her pink petticoat and green skirt –
that could be mine.
Shadows peel from her face.
The widow’s iron balustrade,
the heavy wooden door
are grazed with the small scars
of their own histories.
My gaze scans the street
as if a written page that might
tell me who I am.
Alley ways and stones are only
what they seem. Winding lanes,
and dead ends, the upholsterer’s
dark interior and bookbinder’s studio
are lost in the telling. Forms shift
throughout the city
that happens without your love.