To Villa Pamphili

woman in red dress standing on gray road

Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Pexels.com

To Villa Pamphili

 

Start running

from the door

up the steps

urine smell

of cats

to the corner.

Garbage

spills to gutters

and the sidewalks

stain with grease.

Run past the curb

to the other,

up the pavement

to the station

where the boxer

growing old,

and now retired

pumps his gas,

flatters men

he doesn’t like 

yet bows a formal

“Ciao!”

to a woman

running forward

wanting back

all the body

 she once had.

 

Rhythm though

monotonous,

she knows she

must stay with it,

jog to find

an equili-

brium and make it

past the stores

with their trinkets,

and the cars

buzz like gnats,

shrill her ears,

fill her lungs

with veils of fumes.

Buses

packed with bodies,

bunched up stems,

bouquets 

of stinking weeds.

 

And run

past the church

that is empty

always empty

save for hefty

black-shawled

rosaried women,

stub hair back,

short.

Stockings

slide in shoes

worn from shopping,

cooking, cleaning,

stooping, taking

care to serve.

Hurry 

to the villa

up ahead.

 

Walls

shot with holes

of cannonballs

from the time of Garibaldi.

Outside.

That’s the outside.

And the ramp

will take her inside

Enter

through the portal.

Jog

to the open, to the garden

that has been here while she was running.

Feel the pulse receding as she leaves what’s

outside, slowing breathing, walking over bones sedate

in their rest, birds, squirrels, chipmunks.

Water flows over rocks, obedient to no

force but their own. She lies down with them.

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