By Khairani Barokka

hailstorm thundering the rooftops of basilica di santa maria novella.
laughing to myself as american tourists disgustedly traversed
the streets outside, the glittery ice debris. magician drafting lady, slim,
in girldress to skip and assist him, all to sustain a crowded gasp,
collective, into the night. guitar by lovers’ locks on the bridge, a friend.
i knew i’d walked too far, and hurt’s too spiteful yet i’d stayed a little,
just come on, come on now don’t let it begin.

ached and on the train to rome i burst, all hell gone loose and fraying out,
pulsating wound i’d always hoped would be delayed, one year away from
future medicine, body silently screaming for palliative skies, palliative earth,
come meet me at some understanding, again, train passengers saw
no hail, no brimstone, strange girl, lone in her seat, frame slightly squirming,
stock still in a moment, hidden, a feeling unmerciful,
fire wash over and
over, over, over,
in jaggedy-moving capsule bringing me rome, a few days’ amuck in fiery lake,
until subsided, until decision to explore the colosseum. provided wheelchair,
my arms excited at lifts and remnants of ancient beasts, old hurts, beginnings.

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