Home >> Volume 1, Issue 02

Grand Tour

William Mickelberry

Along the way
my daughters met:
Jormo, the Finnish professor
on his way to the land of the dead
south of Naples, himself
already colder than death;
and Dante,
a waiter in Rome.

I met the ghost of my father.
He appeared in the window
of the car I drove
through the Florentine countryside,
my face reflected, passing over the towns,
spired and hot.
But the furrowed frown,
the severe brow were his,
a face like Fredo’s,
another waiter in Rome
whose classic visage
was armatured upon a spindly body
and could not mask
his stupidity.

Fredo, my daughters told me,
lived with his sleepy brother
in an apartment near
the train station.
Green and white
checkerboard linoleum
ran halfway up the walls.

For some, tumbled columns
call up empires of vision.
For the rest, the servility
of chisel on stone.

From the terrace
of the restaurant
grinning Fredo
pointed west where
Michelangelo’s tiny dome
sank into the dusk.
Bello rosso,” he said,
describing the quality of light,
his graceful, marble finger
poised in imitation
of something in a niche,
solicitous of a tip.