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In Italy

by Devon E Mattys

We will never talk
of rolling Tuscan hills
or dusty gravel driveways
lined with olive trees.
We will never talk
of low stone walls
or terraces that boast a view
of slithering mountain roads.
There’s no bliss in reminiscing.

You will never hear
of vaulted ceilings, private chapels,
wine casks kept in basements.
You will never hear
the grunting of the wild boars
from the hammock up the path.

You did not rise with me at dawn
and watch the workers in the field,
picking what would be our lunch.
You did not sit with me at dusk
and drink espresso while the sun
melted in the distance.
The cats did not wind around your ankles
as you surveyed rows of vines.
The cautious little neighbor boy
never shook your hand.

You were not in Italy.
You were not in Italy.

The Piazzale Michelangelo
never found you fumbling for a camera.
The cathedrals’ gold mosaics
never stopped you in your tracks.
You never reached an unsure hand
into the flowing waters of a fountain,
first to bathe and then to drink.
You never rubbed Il Porcellino’s snout
with the hopes you might return someday
with me.

You will never hear
of how I placed one coin
and two came tumbling out.
You will never hear
of how I saw this as a sign,
meant for you and me.

It was not your chest I awoke against.
So I will never tell you
how I longed to hold your hand
and stroll along the Arno,
gazing upward at the foreign stars.
I will never tell you
that when I close my eyes,
I can see you there, and smell you there,
and it’s quiet, and you’re smiling.

But you were not in Italy.
And we will never be
in Italy.


Author's Note: jmb

Posted on 09/05/2013
Copyright © 2021 Devon E Mattys

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 09/06/13 at 02:54 PM

if only she could be in Italy and thus in your arms, whose absence a poet finds nearly intolerable to bear, who can only console himself, and vicariously, any who despair the very similar fact that their own love isn't in Italy or anywhere near their vicinity, by releasing this beautiful ode from his quill, which to read, eggs the heart to tearing.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 09/09/13 at 06:22 PM

Such a sad but beautiful poem, rich in its imagery and resulting emotion in the reader. Great introduction to your work, Devon. Glad I popped in!

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 09/12/13 at 03:00 PM

I've been back to re-read this one several times. It's sad with longing and yet so inviting to go there and experience all of this.

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