Runcible Spoon

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Luxuriating in therapeutic thermal springs

affords a reprieve from a fortnight of tramping

across quondam marshes, through sunflower fields

and vineyards, past hay bales and cypresses.


The mind craves downtime to absorb stimuli

and coalesce the landscape's specters

lingering in the shards of Etruscan artisanry,

loitering at the Roman Gates, lazing by windmills.


Regional memories strut along the landscape,

insinuating themselves in lockstep

with clock tower chimes, surfacing into awareness

even as hot, sulfurous waters bubble and spume.


In my lassitude I toss back my head and shut my eyes,

recalling the fish stench from when I earlier nosed

a dolium of garum meticulously preserved,

yet somehow it all seems the residue of a fugue.


Perhaps tonight, after a repast of seared sea bream

with olives, artichokes, zucchini, and kale,

after climbing nearby hills full of metals,

I will meet with Dante's ghost at sundown.


If so, I will lay down my rucksack and inquire

where he has been and whether he ever slept overnight

on a farmhouse roof with the stars his guerdon,

then spill waterfalls of gratitude for the experience.