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You said something but it did not seem
that anything was asked.
I know you asked a question
when a man who’d lost his bearing
cut us clean in two.
A clock with no minute hands
and the speed I fixed my gaze
is how I remember January.
The street-sweeper is here.

Amore, get the door.
The shadow across the flagstone
I could have sworn was mine
and the toppled flask rolling
over tabloids by the well head.
Each took place as fingers curled
back from a withdrawn palm
and we sat and we knocked back
fried fish with a lick of wine.

I thought of foundations;
Chi è? Spassino!
that a river was diverted;
Amore, the door.
that the city had no place,
yet it lingered like remorse;
They have come to take away
what we left them in the hallway.
and that I should not be here.

Sampling stale bergamot
from frosted stopper bottles
and nodding as one ought,
I remembered something else:
a birthmark I had traced.
The coastline of an island
on an outdated globe
turns under dry fingers
cast in mottled shade.




On careless evenings
streets work on new soles.
Turning round corners
under mangled scaffolds
that drop brick dust
from paused renovations
through slack air,
the Angelus peals from the East.
Littered screams were borne our way,
carried from an open window
and dismantled on the breeze.
Over there, across the courtyard,
in the brickwork, I asked.
Yes, you said,
I suppose they must be,
while on the street the willow seed
took leave of the gutter and spun.
It gathered, and was kicked about,
settled, and was chased.
An arm was wrenched away,
and that was that.
I thought of yellow cotton
on a different day.
You know there is a marsh here,
right under the cobblestones
whose colour runs blue in the rain?
He told us there was a marsh here,
he said they raise it through the pumps.
What was his name, again?
What was his name?
Eager now to press ahead,
you brushed my hand and said

What did I say?

and I reminded you.