Now that the jet stream of tourism has been stanched
like blood from a wound, history’s monuments
lie quiet as a postcard on a desk:
Coliseum-as-cow-pasture, its ivory crown
grandstanding between those horse-drawn wagons
and shepherdesses dazed in a wood of columns
of Pinelli’s vedute romane. Today, the selfies
self-medicate. Echo of lion’s roar and martyr’s cry
are all you can make out against this riddle of sky.
The future is a phone call that won’t quite go through.
“Operator, is anyone there?” you blurt, but reception
is lousy, the earpiece hollow. You never get voice, presence,
Ich und Du. I and thou. Just I, one meter away from every
other I. Safety in distance. Danger in numbers. Chalk up
the days since life seemed normal. Calendar etched black with Xs.
Thank G-d, crank god, shipwrecked among stars, all of us afloat
in the same impossible bottle. Toss us a link to the future
& quick. It’s crowded and our world is going under.
Marc Alan Di Martino is a Pushcart-nominated poet and author of the collection Unburial (Kelsay Books, 2019). His work appears in Rattle, Baltimore Review, Palette Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Rust + Moth, Matador Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and many other journals and anthologies. New work is forthcoming in Tinderbox, Free Inquiry, and First Things. His second collection, Still Life with City, will be published by Pski’s Porch in 2020. He lives in Italy.
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