Miles David Moore



Italian-American

(for Sophia and Mario)

It was October in Montegufoni.

Steel-jawed crushers wolfed Chianti grapes

in joyous cartfuls, and pomegranates

insinuated purple light from dooryards.

I stood outside the castle, waiting

with the others for the autobus to take us

to Florence or Lucca or San Gimignano

when another bus, the color of sorbetto di limone,

pulled into view. Small children, taking

no notice of the queued-up Americans,

tumbled out of the bus, clutching soccer balls

and Hello Kitty or Donald Duck lunchboxes,

laughing in a language I did not know.

But I thought of another bambina just born

an ocean and a continent away,

her mother—my niece—the same northern mixture

of Irish-English-German-Dutch as me,

her father one generation removed

from Sicily and Abruzzo.

And now I think of due bambini,

sister and brother, growing up in a place

where crushers wolf Cabernet and Zinfandel grapes

for Mondavi, Parducci, Sebastiani.

The first time they went to Italy, they wanted

to travel by balloon. The second time,

Pope Francis blessed them at Easter Mass.

They’re renowned from Pescara to Santa Rosa,

these mighty swimmers and marathon readers,

heroes of Golden State soccer fields,

fans of Team Italia, growers of pomegranates.

 

 

Shadow Dancing

 

A four-year-old is dancing with herself.

In the midsummer sun, she paints arabesques,

the lawn her canvas, her body her brush.

She has known all her life how to make her own fun,

how to be her own friend,

but this is something new:

those endless patterns she alone creates

with her arms and legs, changing every second,

extend with the lengthening afternoon light

past the end of her yard, to all her neighbors.

 

And how long, seriously, can she dance?

What’s fun at four may pall at forty,

or even at five. And what if she dances

past four? Not everybody fits

in toe shoes, or bends properly at the barre—

the price of importuning the world with dance.

We’ve all seen untrained dancers swaying

to music they alone can hear

at street corners, bus stops, subway stations,

and all we want is for them to dance

locked away from us, where we cannot see.

 

But, for this living moment, let her dance.

She has all her life to socialize her art.

Let her prance and sway as she pleases, or stop

to stretch her arms toward the sun,

the shadow of her childlike reach extending

past the end of her yard, to all the world.




Miles David Moore is a Washington reporter for Crain Communications Inc. He is founder and host of the IOTA poetry reading series in Arlington, Va., and film reviewer for the online arts magazine Scene4. From 2002 to 2009, he was a member of the board of directors of The Word Works, and from 1995 to 2008 he was administrator of its Washington Prize.  His books are The Bears of Paris (Word Works, 1995); Buddha Isn’t Laughing (Argonne House Press, 1999); and Rollercoaster (Word Works, 2004).









                                    

 

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