Summer 2009





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.


Ilona Martonfi

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