March 7th, 2017

poetry, exceptindreams

Nineteen | Katrina Vandenberg

“Nineteen”
Katrina Vandenberg

Carrie and I were hanging our wash on the roof
of the hostel in Riomaggiore-all we had carried
in our packs while remaining half-dressed-when
the Italian couple came up to shower. They shared
a stall, not caring about us and our sodden rainbow
of underwear on the line. From the roof
we could see the Mediterranean bang the cliffs,
and other roof gardens, with cats and coral
geraniums like this one. In the shower that morning,
I had sudsed my hair under the open sky,
the fingers of the sun electric, like God’s
on the Sistine Chapel ceiling I’d been herded in
to see the week before. Now the cotton partitions
trembled, and the couple’s feet danced
in the spray, her small red-painted toes digging
into the tops of his feet. When she cried out,
Carrie looked at me, and I know we were thinking
the same thing, as the couple caterwauled in the tongue
we wanted to learn, and the inbred cats basked,
and our clothes released the grime of early spring,
and the son of the hostel owner went to scout another train.