Florence in Winter

Jumping down from the train,
map in hand, I felt a lightness in the air
I had not known since Portugal.
The moment glanced up in a reel
made for memories of Florence in winter.

Hunger of three days sharpened my senses;
I became a mouth, a tongue, a feral dog,
tracking by scent and sound. Eyes wide open,
I stepped away from knowing. My breath
unwound, one moment by another.

By the foot of the hill was a little stand
mounded with pears ripely gold, a still life
fragrant with life. A single pear in its fullness
of time bridged body to soul, the juice
spurting down my chin to my hand.

In the softening bruise of New Year's Day,
Maurice Chevalier had died. Near the Ponte Vecchio
I paused as a radio hymned his song:
"Ah yes, I remember it well. . . ."
Oh yes, I remember that well.

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