Farewell to Florence                                           

            I left a jacket
            At the Piazza della Signoria

            Not because it was a little short in the arms
            Or overworn, or because its pockets
            Tangled up the things I placed in them
            With shredded fabric decades old that
            Made it hard to extricate what I consigned

            Nor because it wasn’t handsome
            Or had ceased to be a bulwark to a biting wind

            Least of all because of style
            Which, when I bought it, 
            Had the stamp of ‘modern’ timelessness, 
            So I was told

            This jacket – it was a gentle brown,
            Soft, but not too delicate, 
            A skin whose sacrifice was compensated
            By the care and skill it took
            To make it lendable to me

            And as a second skin it helped
            To get me through a lot of

            The moment of its purchase
            Was a happy one, as moments go

            But, you see, 
            The thing about moments
            Is that they’re surrounded by a 
            Fore and aft, embedded in
            Some kind of pool that stretches
            Everywhere until it’s time to sink

            It was the endless stream of youth at the piazza, 
            The fusillade of dreams under
            The gaze of Perseus the other day
            That made me wonder not
            How innocence becomes a 
            Murderer or thief, but worse, 
            A pillar of the state

            I watched these happy ghosts
            Who knew bright promises could lie in wait,
            Experts in hope and, in their 
            Necessary selfishness, the truth
            About what it should mean
            To be alive
            Despite immortal worms of grief
            That crawl inside a heart and
            Sometimes stir when least anticipated –

            That they could take, and
            Broken loves and the incessant
            Effort to be understood
            With language laying siege and
            Taking prisoners of every word

            That, I’m convinced, they could endure

            Until they reached a line 

            Or was it more a mien,
            A mask of crusted blood that
            Thickly grew with every new recruit
            Who fell upon the easy side of power
            And stayed –
            The face of how things had to be –
            Forgetting who they were or
            Who they might have been?

            I prayed for more to make the harder choice

            And got the thought
            To leave my jacket, 
            Late at night, 
            Upon the shoulder of an ancient
            But decided it was better fitting
            At his feet: it still had use, and 
            Little history to burden 
            The discoverer

            I bought myself another on a whim, 
            Partly to celebrate, partly to rejoice
            Because it wasn’t out of need

            And I could face Medusa’s face
            This time with levity


             Emanuel E. García, Sojourns2014