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
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.