Peace Talks with Equilibrium
After Anthony Hecht
This thin-lipped American girl spoon feeds gelato to a bulldog and I realize this city isn’t a city at all, but a small dungeon inside a tortoise shell gently rocking on a calm sea. We can escape, they say, but only if we’re willing to slam ourselves repeatedly against the gates until the guards have had enough. But then, of course, there are those reptilian walls of Tuscany, which are impenetrable. Once, I heard of a young man who made the long voyage through Pistoia to the border region, sneaking past local Carabinieri with only the clothes on his back. He used an espresso spoon like a tiny chisel, carving away for days at the softer part of the regional wall. Some say he is still swimming, by now off the coast of Sardegna, but not me. I think he’s just like all the rest of us here, sipping a macchiato at the bar, fighting the urge to splash it on the barista and scurry out the door— milk foam gathering at the corners of my puckered lips, like an old man with a dried-up cotton mouth, a rabid raccoon.