Snow & Absolution

There is no more
she says as if love had been the main course,
with no left overs and the kitchen long closed.
She sips her coffee and scans the tables for others.
He was always a combination of factors
She explains how every new city has the power
to magnify you or make you microbial to each other
beyond remedy, like a flesh-eating superbug,

how winter was snow all around the Colosseum,
the ruins muffled, traffic had lost its voice.
A snowman wore a panettone for a hat.
Nothing could be believed anymore
Spring was sitting at pavement cafes for hours,
becoming an expert in pastries, expecting words
to fall from above into a begging Moleskine,
like they appeared to do for Europeans.

I don’t blame him for a moment
She decided to smoke again, mathematically.
One cigarette plus another equals Mastroianni,
times two makes Ekberg divided by Fellini.
I sit on the other side of her confessional lattice,
just a musty warp in the air that absolves her.
We must do this more often now I’m back
She takes a call and I pay the bill.

Outside, the sun jackhammers Germayse Street
and the words we use to say goodbye and now ciao
require expensive sunglasses.

Shortlisted in the Anthony Cronin International Poetry Prize, 2018

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