Switched-on Gutenberg Vol. 6, No. 2
Wish You Were Here

The past is so powerful that it is easy to lose
yourself in it and forget the strong present….
—Mary Lou Settle

Remember now the market at Umbertide:
awnings the colours of gelato dripping down
mango, peach, amaretto, blueberry. Beneath,
buried deep in the soil of the stalls, mottled
soybeans, leeks, asparagus, red peppers.
A suckling pig, stuffed with prunes, glazed to gold
with wild-weeded honey, frets on a bed
of ruffled chard. Is he watching women boil squid
in the center of the square? They pull these squirmers
from rusted pots, pinch off legs, squash lemon after lemon
over ink-bleeding brains.

Remember now the market at Umbertide,
how we stopped here, filled greasy paper bags
with the evening’s meal, watched old men
with pugs laugh and talk together.
Then the road, rough, hairpinned
up to the villa, olive trees bent silver over
each curve, iron gate opened, wine poured out,
the sound of mourning doves nestling deep
to dream in thick-twined jasmine. Remember
how long we sat at table, candles bright, plates
long empty. Like the old men, how we laughed,
how we talked, together in the Umbrian night.

Copyright 2004, Carol White Kelly

Carol Kelly lives with her cat in the backyard of a library. She discovered the joys of poetry late in life in a writing program at the U of W, continues to work with the Meridian Poets, and has been published in assorted journals.


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