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In the dream I am in Florence again, in Piazza Santa Croce,
and I spin in a crowd of strangers, my eyes closed.
All around me Italian voices pulse and glow like blood-
orange roofs on the houses and the Duomo in late afternoon.
The Arno pulls past—a slow train—azzurro, azzurro,
a sky rinsed in blue above me. In the dream, I, too,
am buffed gold, levitating to the music of language
stitched by Dante and Petrarch. Such words
built for beauty, for artists and poets, for lovers
and ruins. Salt and sea waters wash over me, dazzle
with light and the slippage of moon over bridges.
Language is a song of loose coins, spilling down
from the fountains. Then bells of the Duomo ring
out over Firenze. A chorus and choir, a volta!
As vowels sail off the ends of each word.
Sharon Fagan McDermott’s most recent book is Life without Furniture (Jacar, 2020).
Copyright 2020 Sharon Fagan McDermott