The Ponte Vecchio's an aging whore
flaunting her wares on the stucco bridge
of crooked houses under a painter's sky.
Tourists fuse past to present, try to save
the moment, cross the bridge on aching feet,
their manic pace interrupted by bikers
late to work, leaving fumes
and rumbles behind in the shadowless
morn. Soon it will be time
to buy apples and cheese at the grocer's,
carry provisions back
up five flights of stairs to the small flat
shuttered against mosquitoes bred
in the unsuspecting Arne, and set it all out
like a banquet on a white cloth.
The sky has exchanged one set of clouds
for another, and cumulous dreams
will float into dusk thick and textured as bread.
An old couple has chosen tomatoes at the market.
They have watched each other's bodies
loosen over the years, and now they test
the ripeness of summer fruit.
A swallow of coffee, a glass of wine,
will sip everyone into the night.
Somewhere else people are dying,
but here, the living are lifted
into the morrow, turning down
their beds as lights go on all over
the ancient city where Dante dreamed
of Beatrice on his way to Purgatory.