Napoli

Violet Mitchell

I.

You made me a smudged map of the stars 
in Ireland and I find Orion’s belt in a mess 
of cold wicker and copper antenna in Napoli,
on a rooftop where Vesuvius is too cloudy 
to hum to us and the honking starts at seven
in the morning, but it’s an Italian roof with 
Italian ants and spiders, and the neighbors 
play Bob Marley & tell me Don’t Worry
about the disappointed street vendors. 
The most important Italian is Grazi with
an extra “ya” before the “i”, and niente carne, 
sono vegetariano,but somehow with twelve 
language barriers in the same room, we all 
speak the same gasps of marble veils 
and chipping gold.

 

II.

Amilio wanted to smoke a cig
at Apollo’s temple & I told Andrew 
to get a haircut in Rome & I can say
I took a shit next to the anatomical
machines made of sixteenth-century beeswax.
We want grandeur. We won’t go to 
Sorrento or the Grand Royal Palace or
hike Vesuvius, but a woman who only
knew how to say “ticket” and “hug”
in English brought me to the train
station after she cooked us river rock
pasta and stalactite orange peels.

 

III.

Mozzarella, the tabby cat, followed us
through Roman baths and squinted
at the sun like I did and sneezed when
I showed him my sunburnt shoulders.
He found a half-decayed raven in the
same domed lake where I made a wish
with a flat pebble. On the TrenitaliaI dreamt
of designing a cornicellodress, scarlet and
strapless with slits up both thighs to emulate
the squiggly bottom of the popular talisman, 

to be worn at casinos for your own luck,

but never someone else’s.