First day off
Christmas was quiet, full of chocolate and work and the cheap poundcakes we kept receiving as gifts, slightly drowsy, swept and wiped down, slow cooked squash, a change of sheets and an evening with Pascal and Allen next door. Pascal is a painter and a novelist and Allen is a member of Parliament who comes to Spannochia for recess. They have a cherub of a baby daughter, a little dog like a pampered and high-minded rat, and two colorful, voluble minds between them.
Now I’m in Sienna, at a bright cafe abutting the Campo where fur-lined matrons jockey strollers around the piazza in a sluggish echo of the Palio. Espresso and proscuttio foccacias, bottled water strangely free of the rusted iron and earth taste of the pipes in the country, smudging up a copy of the Herald Tribune, incubating behind sunglasses, doing the same thing I do off-work on the farm, but happy to do it within the cloud of people and chatter. After a week of land and quiet, it feels good to crowd in and watch and listen to indecipherable conversations which I pretend to understand.
A sketch of Sienna:
At the edge of the Campo
sun-sick and coatless to spite winter,
the tall sinosoidal facades
steam in the palate of citrus.
Plaster walls erode above seeping
traffic of feet, scarves and dark glasses,
all ink-haired, hawkish pigeons
and glam-heavy boys cox-combed
for the glory of morning. Too slow
to be walking, the bell tower clock still running
like a nose, the whole sky a blotter
for the spires. The air cool and catholic
over black veins of stone,
where the dark shoes of gypsy girls
click in time with the small change
which rattles in outstretched cups.