Ekphrasis, Italy
I crawled past the leafy greens and hid
behind a pimpled gourd to watch her,
this tomato vender in the mercato 
nibbling on her knuckle.

I needed a foolproof disguise to get closer, 
so I bit open a huge bag of basil
and picked it apart with my thumb.
Then I climbed inside, pulled 

the back of it over my head and poked
a little peep-hole in the front.
I hopped past the cabbage to the salted meat
and almost got discovered

by a fishmonger reaching into me
for a few leaves to garnish his scrod.
I finally made it to her,
my knees tired from squatting,

the bottom of the bag, though I had 
reinforced it with veal cutlets,
wearing extremely thin. When
I finally garnered enough courage, 

I pushed my head through the greenery,
like a smooth muskrat in the lily pads,
but she didn’t notice me. I tried
tickling her ankle with the tip of a leaf

and humming the first ten seconds 
of Vivaldi’s Spring, but nothing,  
her eyes fixed on a few mice 
crawling through the parsnips.

So I slowly slid my arms 
back through my suspenders,
thinking, for a moment, 
of the great Italian lovers:

Michelangelo, Vasari, Leonardo—
before I tip-toed out the door.
Copyright © 2004–2017 Memorious