The first draft of this poem was written on a tour bus as I was leaving Rome. The second draft of this poem was written on the same tour bus as I was leaving Assisi. The third draft of this poem was written in a hotel room in Florence, after I lost the second draft on the tour bus. It's a lot more straightforward than my other poems. Hopefully nobody thinks that the simplicity is a bad thing.


The whitest smoke I've ever seen

spilled backwards, choking the rain with gentle wisps,

and I wondered if you were thinking of me

as the man out front lit his third cigarette,

like I thought of you

when I came across the beggar on the street,

and felt your heart in mine as I felt the pain in her eyes.

You've probably cut your hair since I've been gone,

and in twenty minutes, shown some other girl enough kindness

to sustain her until she had the privilege to be stifled by you again.

I can almost hear the sobs,

pouring out of my mouth like Roman water from rusty pipes,

but the very idea of you will hold them back

through every reason I have to remember your comforting face,

before I get the chance to hold your steady gaze

and dance around these melancholy details,

just as I hope you expected me to.