Sul Mar Tirreno
Woman in black dress hanging clothes out
to dry on her balcony.
I didn’t ask you:
“Why do you have your own room?”
Tyrrhenian Sea with its turquoise water,
la spiaggia di Cefalù in agosto:
stairs that lead down to lungomare.
I didn’t see poppies under almond trees.
I didn’t plant clumps of dwarf palm.
I said: “I am going to the beach.”
I saw through the window
the boatman fishing sea urchins from rocks.
Down four flights of cement steps:
flip-flops, blue-and-white striped bikini.
I didn’t say: “Bring me oleander!”
I didn’t see crimson flowering shrubs.
I didn’t eat prickly pear cactus.
Granita di limone in glass bowl.
A crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling.
Walls, the colour of ripened gourd.
I said: “Let’s dance on the hotel terrace.”
I saw the boatman sending drinks to our table.
I wore my new, hot pink silk sarong,
knotted twice over my breasts.
I didn’t say: “Let’s go into Cefalù village.”
I didn’t see earthen jugs on donkeys.
Narrow, medieval cobbled streets.
You said: “Stay married to me!
We’re rich. You’re used to having money.
I’ll have my women. You can do as you please.”
I didn’t stay on the boardwalk.
I said: “I will divorce you!”
Zigzagging orange neon sign:
you made for the discoteca.
Amid olive and eucalyptus,
up forty stone steps to Albergo Cefalù:
male cicadas call from trees.
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