November 2, 2023

In Gioiella

I was so new
I didn’t know
what to attend—
the bells of sheep
or the huddle of them
flooding the wash,
the two bee-eaters
flashing coppery
on the slack wires
or the hoopoe
scuffling in the culvert.
I parked the rental
briefly at the dead end,
vicolo cieco, rather,
while the hoopoe lifted
its feathered crown
above the tall grasses,
a tourist himself,
having drifted in
years ago on a wind
much like the one
that swept me here.
If the wind had a name
it eluded me, as did
most things that
week among shepherds
and artists. I was
trying to do the right
thing, even as the wine
glasses one after another
shattered in my hands,
even as the untranslatable
dusk drew the light
out of the valley
leaving only the occasional
clatter of a sheep bell,
a breeze jostling
the night branches
of the cherry tree
thickening even
now with cherries.

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A Journal of International Poetry
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