When to Wear Shorts

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Between cliff and thyme, past Via dell’ Amor,
lives Maria; her carved fingers

like fingers and not toes.  On this path,
set in a glass case that should break,

she pictures what women should,
when I rest for water and a smoke.
 
At Monterosso al Mara I slip
and my teeth snap, almost breaking three.  

Al and I live with our Maria,
dressed in a Cleopatra headdress

and a black feather boa.  
How our neighbors found us strange.  

Al, I will cut my hair short to be sisters with you again.
In Vernazza, my skin boils as it tends to do,

and you will connect the freckles and call it protection.  
Third floor, when asked for directions to the toilet,

we say, through the beaded Maria,
past the statue Maria, turn left at the light-up portrait

Maria, and if you see her staring at you in the mirror,
you’ve made it.  Now, she is at my left shoulder

as a man shuffles through the path,
a child on his back.  It’s how I have made it here,

when once we were eating only butter

Created: Feb 20, 2012

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