Maremma

Brandon Marlon

Luxuriating in therapeutic thermal springs
affords a reprieve from a fortnight of tramping
across quondam marshes, through sunflower fields
and vineyards, past hay bales and cypresses.

The mind craves downtime to absorb stimuli
and coalesce the landscape's specters
lingering in the shards of Etruscan artisanry, 
loitering at the Roman Gates, lazing by windmills.

Regional memories strut along the landscape,
insinuating themselves in lockstep
with clock tower chimes, surfacing into awareness
even as hot, sulfurous waters bubble and spume.

In my lassitude I toss my head back and shut my eyes,
recalling the fish stench from when I earlier nosed
a dolium of garum meticulously preserved,
yet somehow it all seems the residue of a fugue.

Perhaps tonight, after a repast of seared sea bream
with olives, artichokes, zucchini, and kale,
after climbing nearby hills full of metals,
I will meet with Dante's ghost at sundown.

If so, I will lay down my rucksack and inquire
where he has been and whether he ever slept overnight
on a farmhouse roof with the stars his guerdon, 
then spill waterfalls of gratitude for the experience.