took place in Italy:
black figs and gilded apricots;
a clatter of bells;
the vivid repartee of birds
as migratory as I was.
Or in Paris with its classical maze
of buildings and bridges
where French perfected itself
in my mouth, already lush
with wine and bruised with kisses.
A flute of chilled prosecco
every morning…that beautiful
Belgian boy each afternoon…
a single yellow rose became
my long-stemmed bookmark.
I learned the world the way
some women learn their kitchens–
all those unswept alleys, the scoured look
of deserts, the knife-edged borders
between men and countries.
And time went by so slowly,
and so fast, a river
whose source is hidden high
in the curve of a mountain:
freeze and frantic meltdown
and freeze again.
Like pebbles in that riverbed
there were perfect
children along the way
and poems from time to time.
But the art that mattered
was the life led fully,
stanza by swollen stanza.