Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sestina for an Italian Assorted Sub

I will tell you true, fellow pilgrim, this road’s been hard before me.
These cobblestones turn my ankle, stub my toe.
And it’s miles to go before Rome, before shade
Under the cedar trees on the Seven Hills
I am tired, fellow traveller, of this dusk, this sky
I am weary, bone tired and worn
This is the sandwich that will change all that.

This Italian Bread, constellations of sesame seeds that
Stud the crisp brown crust before me
That moves me head to toe
That gleams like the mid day sun without shade
The arc of the roll, supple as the hills
Palatine, the Tiber River reflected in the sky
In the heavens worn.

Cheese is an indulgence worn
With impunity, with irreverence and that
Kind of lust that both you and me
Cannot resist, a line we can not toe
Cheese from the North of Italy, in the Alps’ shade
Where the milkmaids roam the hills
And the moon is made of cheese, there in the sky.

The storms will break; can split in half this sky
The rivers may run to the ocean, leaving shores worn
Cut into smooth banks, sea grass listing this way and that
Salami is the cure, so good for what ails me
Capicola and Ham, toe to toe
And Sweet Genoa, a card, wears a lamp shade
There in the North, away from Tuscan Hills

Fellow traveller, fellow pilgrim, these are Mountains not hills
Passable still, as long as the earth remains below the sky
A compass is faith worn
True North. A straight line on a curved globe that
Bugs the shit out of me.
Perspective is the thumb, the toe
It is not, after all, light that defines shade.

When I worked on that farm, there was shade
Away from the fields, across the lake, around the hills
Where we thought the giants might have lifted the sky
Held it in place, like a mantle worn
We rode bikes around that lake, to that
Sandwich shop: there was you, and there was me
And the cat who had one extra toe

That cat was crazy. We thought the toe
Was some kind of gypsy witchcraft, some shade
Or spirit. This is what she told us, there in the hills
Beneath the Strawberry Moon of the Solstice sky
The gypsy woman, with her cook’s apron worn
Tied low on her wide hips that swayed, that
Brought this sandwich to me.

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