Let’s Walk Tonight
to Crespiano in the moonlight
along that steep and ancient road
that winds white like a twisted sheet
across the breast of the mountains
down between the village and the town.
The road will forgive our feet for the beating
as long ago it learned patience
pilgrims, merchants, soldiers, gypsies
and animals walked all over it:
it’s still here, but they are gone.
Squadrons of bats will protect us
from mosquitoes while the owl cries ride
on white horses through the trees
and darkness slips over our skin promiscuous
like oil or spilled wine.
When we arrive we’ll have some beer or gelato
the people will toast us for our
failure to understand them
because where we come from
words are emptied once spoken
and the dead will keep us company too
relaxed and free from hope
but listening carefully
and they’ll drink with us also
although their throats are sieves
their stories are simple as trees
that were climbed on by children
who are now old women in the village square
or in the wooden libraries that lie
buried under the world.
They stay until a sudden breeze pours through them
the walls open and wave their pages fretfully
like washing in a storm and and the millions
of leaves in the night mountains
along the road to Crespiano.