noce di cocco
These are the flavors of gelato
offered in a little shop
off the Piazza Emilio Chanoux
before we walk to the bus stop
along the ruined Roman walls
to find the bus to take us
to the squeduct.
I can’t be wooed by gelato today,
not even this, though as a child
I did run off one Saturday morning
to follow—irresistibly—the bell
of the ice-cream cart.
What draws me
is more complicated now.
I’ve seen autumn come
suddenly to the mountains;
seen the millenium turn.
I’ve heard echoing shots
late in the afternoon, somewhere
in the deep woods above the inn,
caught glimpses of movement
in the upper windows of the old
up beyond the red clay tennis court,
unseen watchers looking out.
What do they see that I cannot?
Today I feel lucky, graced by
the lavish colors of the gelato
passed in the little square,
as if I might
get finally to the heart of things,
catching the local bus that takes us
with the villagers from market
on the unnamed mountain road
to the aqueduct.
The Pont d’Ael in its remote valley,
one of the aqueducts
that carries water down
from snow melt to fountains
in order for our sake,
as Rilke says, to arrive.