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From Via Goffredo Mameli 59 to Palazzo Pio 95

You hear a wood-on-metal click as the heavy door closes behind
Vespas buzz by. A friendly nasone fountain flutters fluid to the surface
Cold and rich with minerality from running through calcium-cluttered underground
Garbage collectors clink bottles from a whole neighborhood’s night of drinking

You pass the wall populated by painted eyes, reflecting the Roman skyline in each aperture
Children scream and kick soccer balls as you approach the Piazza di San Cosimato
Each morning morphs the square, from movie screen for outdoor black and white films
To sea of white cap tents, vendors motioning for you to Please come try, friend!

An old Italian man and his immigrant assistant break open an apricot and hand it to you
The apricot’s putti skin kisses your palms, caresses your nose, whispers albicocca in aroma
You ciao each other and fade away from the chatter down the narrow ochre street
Filled with cries of cut vegetables, restaurants prepping garlic, onion, olive oil scents for lunch

The cobblestone too warmly embraces your blistering toes
Blister: a fitting name, as if they burst from the bliss of stirring your sole
The sun is also blistering, as you enter the open, shadeless space of Ponte Sisto
Sweat swelling in so many crevices you think it might intertwine with your DNA

You pass Trapizzino, with its crunchy sourdough triangles stuffed with liquid heaven
Where you left your fried rice ball heart, where you can always briefly reunite with it for two Euro
You enter the Campo dei Fiori, a flurry of vendors, fresh with strawberry pineapple smoothies
Grab some café corretto, cut the bitter nuttiness with spice and fire

You’ll know you’re at home when you measure time in buongiorno, buon pomeriggio, buonasera
Your cheese-scented salumeria knows your order: un etto di prosciutto crudo
Days are doubled by siesta-sliced sleep, you know your neighborhood nasoni
You greet the statues by name, defiant, silent Giordano Bruno, il ugly truth Babuino
You leave behind the longest nights out, the brightest smiles, the ripest tomatoes
You translate it all to American English and wonder how much you lost in the process

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