for Laura Wainwright & Whit Griswold
We may be the last people we know to go, andare, to Florence,
and relax in the piazza, ever poised to respond in polite Italian,
piacere, pleased to meet you, and grazie for thin proscuitto
and double, doppia macchiatos. So andiamo, here we go for
lightly fried zucchini flowers, tramezzino of roasted peppers
with pecorino romano and panini of sausage and goat cheese.
We walk, camminare, in the heavy afternoon through vines
crooked and robusto, on rocky hills, to witness the misty, rosa,
pink, aroncione, orange sunset on the Duomo, construction
on the cupola continuing for 16 years until 1436, the masons
laying the mattone, their wine diluted by a third high above
the nave on scaffolding; without Portland or cement mixers,
and missing by 600 years the woman in the Milan airport
in black-and-white checkered shorts, square red sunglasses
and tailored yellow jacket, six-feet easily, in pink knee socks–
And I want to say more in Italian than,
“Have you written the letters.”
In every cell of Savonarola’s friary, a Fra Angelico fresco,
austere San Marco, thin thread of spun gold on The Virgin’s veil,
swipe of gold on Gabriel’s wings—Annunciations everywhere!
Thin stripe of silver on the currency for automatic payment:
your ticket validated and your receipt, receipts for everything,
punched and stamped, torn and separated, receipts
to keep with your brochures, brochures with guide books.
And tomorrow, domani, the fast train, the Euro-Star
to Venice, banners and medieval festivals in the square, buying
a paper mechanical bird on the bridge, daccordo, we’re O.K.,
lugging home the cardboard carrier of Siena pitchers–
Bring me a party of cake; how much is the bakery?