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Testa Dura


All that flesh beneath wine and words,

olive-skinned lines that I’d never heard,

mouths that cooed at Roman breasts,

and eyes that looked like they’d never looked west.

The TTC to school

was a mountain trail on a brown-eyed mule.

Every day was a red-lipped port,

a dark-eyed town, or a fortified fort.


And I’ll learn to play soccer,

hang a picture of Il Duce in my locker.

And I’ll swim in the Mediterranean Sea,

and I’ll kick that ball likes it’s Sicily.


You dragged me by my cake-eating tongue.

I fell for the history in legs and lungs,

daydreamed in the ancient soil,

bathed each night in the extra virgin oil.

I tossed my heart and I threw my hands

into time and shifting sands.

I made for you a new Calabria.

Then you disappeared, abracadabria.


There was one who stood out amongst the others:

a blue sequined dress in a sea of black dress mothers.

The note she wrote was a bitter, southern pill.

I leave one of my own on her windowsill.


Your kilts shored up exposing beach.

My grasp was feet beyond my reach.

Water lines a salty rim.

Now more to stroll, but maybe less to swim.

Tides have come, and gains will go.

I’ve buzzed the tower flying low.

I’ll zip it now, and you’ll understand

I’m just a bird. I’m still piping sand.

© Audsongs 2019

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