Delighted to have this poem published in Acumen January 2019.
It was shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Prize, so I'm very happy it's found a home in such a respected journal.
Thin Luigi stands next to me and points
at the sun's red arc settling on the ridge,
clocking out of its daily labour
in the hot factory of summer.
He says that in the long days of June
it sets further towards the Gran Sasso
then, as each day passes, creeps its way
south along the far Morrone ridge.
But today is Ferragosto and the sun
still has much travelling to do.
For now I'm glad its hot eye is closing
on another sweltering afternoon.
I offer Luigi a beer which he declines,
as usual, and in my poor Italian
try to say how a calendar could be made
by putting markers on the hills
according to the setting sun.
He smiles, nods and speaks again.
I smile and nod too, feeling sure
neither of us have understood a word.
We watch the quick descent of the sun
the top edge just showing now...
...and now gone.
The bee-eaters are still chirruping,
but in the trees the last golden orioles
have calmed their fluting song.
Thin Luigi sighs and says "Ciao Marco,
ci vediamo..." and wanders off up the lane.
His dogs are barking in their pen.
I shake a mosquito from my ankle
then look back at the dark mountain ridge
and the house lights coming on in Serra.
If I were constant like Thin Luigi,
I could observe all the sunsets I'd need
to mark down and make that calendar
then use it to count the fallow days
which fall between you and me
each one like a flake of snow settling
on the slopes of Monte Amaro.