He asked me, in perfect Italian, to write a poem about his beloved village. I replied, in broken English and with wine on my lips, that I would. What lies beneath is the patchwork of words I started over a year and a half ago and finished tonight. I'll never be satisfied with it and I can only hope for an Italian translator to make the poem more romantic than I ever could.

Ancient Bella,

Your cracks reveal stories, not age

Seducing the stranger, demanding his fidelity

Though your bones ache from the weight of mortals past

Mother-duty shoulders in silence

Shrugging off shifting earth, the span of time

The mountains raise in buttress support

as salute to your beauty

The burghers hold your secrets,

and the watchtower waits

Curious passerby riveted by your idyllic mystery

journey through medieval maze,

morphing as they pass

Glances backward, scenes of shattered glass

Santo Stefano,

holy ground for the wandering heart, 

you remain an aching memory.