Down the Decumanus Maximus till the rutted cobbles give way, just as so many lives have gone before this, past the stubs of the insulae, while each Airbus at Fiumicino heaves itself aloft over the beach umbrellas in row on row where the Tyrrhenian Sea laps, soft; and I, too, have felt Rome drop astern of that imperative bound west, have settled back and been home by afternoon. But this time I smell the dust and heat as I walk an open field to Room 16, Trench 3, Layer 3 where he works, my tousle-headed man-child,
In the Villa Doria Pamphilj, I saw a carved plaque set into a wall, quite unremarkable, just the usual lotto di putti, the contest between cherubs, but then I saw that one of the two had wriggled his way somehow inside the mask of tragedy, the way a dog might flail blindly, its forequarters stuck in a paper sack, but more cunning than that, and not stuck, having crawled in deliberately (in the same way an apprentice of Cellini hid his lover inside a bronze head of Mars, her nude flank like the whites of its eyes), the cherub’s
Snail-track of jism? No, that was the moon silvering the tongue-and-groove of floor, my parents arguing outside on the stair, the primal "We should get a divorce" scene (sound up and over: from The Guiding Light). I slept. I woke.