Ryan Davidson

Murmured Crowd


The knot that Hungarian girl made her shoulders

into so she couldn’t be taken from our free exhibit

was sucked from me, or the idea that made her do it

at least. Since she must still be there I’m blind

to today and all I hear are German frowns

at the bare-foot drunk and still drinking

Hungarian. Her lips hold onto that bottle

like eyelids hold onto eyes.


Walking out of the Keats-Shelley House

in Rome and using Fanny Brawne’s handwriting

as a map. I find myself back in our century

and back at The Spanish Steps and


back with the same people that

refused me a Euro for the subway.

They seethe insistence of existence

and the only clear sound: a reverently

maligned guitar.


I wonder how many of these people have read

“Ode on Melancholy” or are thinking of the transient

nature of beauty as embodied by the sun

cutting across The Spanish Steps. No I don’t.

What kind of underwear does that Hungarian girl wear?


I might still find her; I could always go back

and she’ll have to still be there.




Ryan J. Davidson is a Scottish American poet and an assistant professor of English literature at the University of Balamand in North Lebanon. His first book, Under What Stars, was published in 2009 by Ampersand press.