an American tourist in Rome (circa 2002)

i take a rest on a dusty rock
that whispers “2,000 years ago
in the valley of the Roman forum…”
and i lean in close

i realize everything:
notice now the graffiti
the red wine making toasts
the Italian playing John Denver
the gelato sliding down your tongue

i watch the wheels of the bus leaving
my breath stolen straight from my pores by ghosts

splendere i come Roma

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