In love with loving though never loved yet
or only by her parents for her febrile imperfections
bailed up on the couch, flu like a pink jacket
shoulder pads sloughed on the carpet
as if an angel, disturbed
by the dreams she'll note in her diary
had hastily discarded its wings.
Passing Easter's sweet bread around
the front line ramparts of family gatherings
a no-man's-land of questions
her parents have learned not to ask
crossed only by an uncle's random mortar
she thinks of cupolas belled from curtains,
a runnelled and guttered architecture
suspended in rain
streets strung with festival globes.
The oriels of the city of love
seemed enough to transcend
home's blocked-out, glassy acreages;
to be glimpsed momentarily between colonnades
peering hopefully into souks and down lanes
the accretion of passport stamps
never amounting to more
than sedition against her own empire,
the muezzin's voice becoming ever more distant
over the orchards of Judaea.
Inland, away from the frieze of fishing villages with their forlorn cafes, farms were also increasingly deserted, left to the wild asparagus and the wind that slid around Ucka's balustrade.
My wife's cousin invited us to visit one such farm, and we all strolled down the dirt track and across the unkempt field toward the house. By the simple, single step that served less as an entrance than as a way of linking the farmhouse to its fields, sat the most disconsolate dog I have ever seen. It allowed Boris to slowly extend his hand for a tentative pat, but it was inviolate in its loneliness. It couldn't muster a response to his hounds, who sniffed at it in the disinterested way children watch a playground misfortune overwhelm one of their mates. It sat absolutely still, as it had, apparently, for days. Its coat was matted and burred, ears drooping, its eyes fixed on the track down which we had come.
We left a bowl of fresh water near the step - the dog lapped from it, and then returned to its post by the door, oblivious to our departure. We left the following day for Trieste, and in the polite bustle of its markets and quays, I forgot to ask about the dog's fate.