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We had breakfast in the bar,
an espresso was one euro.

Maybe the sun will come out later, you said.
The mist brightened, then darkened
as you spoke.
No need for glasses now, you said.

That afternoon, through our hats and scarves,
we saw a flock of green parrots.
They came from the snow in Villa Borghese,
screeching through the streets.
We held hands…

We held hands and watched.
That afternoon,
you were in your chair by the window.
Your heart beat tiny in your temples.
Your nose hooked down.
Shoulder blades folded… under your grey jumper.

We talked about how parrots are the bicycles of birds
so sleek, so aerodynamic.
Perhaps after generations in the city
they become pigeons – grey, torn feet.

Grey, torn feet.

We stopped talking, held hands. I played with your fingers.
You’d bitten your nails right down to the roots.

Sometimes, you say the same thing,
and sometimes… you say something different.

You always said the same thing.
That there was no sun if there were no shadows.
That until there were shadows there was no sun.
That there had to be shadows for there to be sun.
That it was bad weather if there were no shadows.
That there was no sun if there were no shadows.
We argued for days!

Shadow of all the words you never said but just thought.

When I followed the Lungotevere

When you followed.

All the way to England

I thought I might be

You thought you.

Following your tracks.

I got all the way to Stanage Edge,

You got all the way.

set out into the fields

Zigzagged past three farms. Sheep stared.

Sheep stared.

I tried to do your sheep impression,

the one your friends paid you to do.

Quiet at the window, laced grey condensation.

The shadow of another house.

Later you tipped your helmet and cycled off.

I hope you took your slippers.

And someone opened the door for you.



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