Two Poems

Santa Croce Exists Right Now


Early evening in Firenze.  The day’s main events have passed. 

Paint spread across canvases, lovers embraced, gelato devoured.

Have the clouds begun to shift into their twilight stance? That distinct Florentine merging of gold, yellow, pink? 

Are people sitting on that bench (my bench) where I used to marvel at the church’s facade and there were so many days ahead that it didn’t occur to me that I would ever leave?


What is happening in Santa Croce?

Surely someone’s taking a picture of the Dante statue.

There was always someone photographing Dante.

Are there birds on his head at this very instant? 

If only I could sit on my bench

for a moment;

one or two heartbeats would suffice.    


Just for a second,

no ocean. 

Only a curtain, easily lifted. 


Catherine with a ‘C’ 


Just who is this Catherine with a ‘C’?

Maybe she walks taller than me

The same height, but better posture. 

Her voice:  firm.  A don’t-mess-with-me edge. 

Catherine with a ‘C’ has a small tattoo on her ankle

or perhaps the small of her back. 

She talks back to the woman who randomly calls her a bitch on the subway.  

Catherine drinks her coffee black. 

“I should have asked how you spell your name – is it with a ‘K’ or ‘C’?”

I hesitate

one beat longer

than I’d like to admit

“A ‘K’,” I say. 

A quick swipe of a sharpie

and I’m Katherine again. 

But I leave Starbucks a little taller

thinking of my black coffee drinking alter ego. 

Opening the door, I turn right. 

Catherine turns left



and winks.