Italian time

Stranded at Lamole
in Italian time,
where hours stretch and crinkle
under the Chianti sun,

you take a last sip of limoncello
and reach for the lizard
on the water’s edge,
hoping to save it from drowning.

Your hand touches;
the reptile recoils.

You swoop to scoop it out,
but you come at it
from the wrong direction.

It spills from your slippery fingers
into the pool overflow
and plunges down.

Now when you come to save me from drowning
in these whispering hills,
I will know the importance
of where I stand
the direction you come from,
and the speed of the overflow.

In Italian time
under the Chianti sun
I am practising stillness
so that when your finger touches me
I give way softly,

and recoil
is no longer a problem.


This poem was written a few years ago – in Italy, of course. An intriguing country, on the edge.