At Casa Guidi

A poem by Valorie Grace Hallinan


You’ve never been there, you say.
I went back just before Mother’s Day,
spied the boy and girl outside our window,
daredevils perched like acrobats over the piazza
playful yet patient—
as they were every afternoon
when you fumbled at the latch on the green shutters
found the anchor of my shoulders
the small of my back
my other parts—
as they were, perhaps, for another two.
I fear our muses will tumble again and shatter, but
they thrive in spite of broken limbs,
their cheeks and behinds weathered by sun and wind,
stone orphans at home in the city of
marble and travertine and the dust of saints.
Here, it is dawn; there, noon.
Already another age. As you sleep,
the bells of Santo Spirito ring for our lucky children.
I’ll lay my hands on your brow until desire
flowers in your dreams
and we rise and go once again,
take up pen and brush,
look upon angels.