Poetry

Tempo Rubato

By: John Best

Summer nights in Trestavere, Death and
Time enjoy an espresso together.
Why not? They can’t hurt each other. But that
night, down one street twisted, now a second
street dank, then a third so narrow, in a
house whose door is dark and deep, a couple hides:
No one will ever discover them now.
Beyond doctors, past pills, they will wait here.

He looks out: The Moon in fullness races west.
She lives her life each month, waxing, waning.
At his feet a cat sits, grey and furred, her
paws together. Ancient Egypt in her
eyes. Mute whiskers splayed in geometric
ruthlessness. The silent cat melts into
darkness. With a sigh, the door is closed. How
wan she lies there. Hope is given up now.

Bashing on the deep dark door! Once more and
then he answers. “Give us what she owes,” they
say, “That one must pay, without delay!” “Can’t
I borrow from you, Time?” he asks. But Time—
that bitch!—holds her purse so tight. And hooting
with a spirit clutched, they make their way through
Trestavere. He looks up, alone. The
Moon arcs toward her repose.

Down the crooked street, the narrow street, the
twisted street, the Colosseum stands, its
arches so brightly it. Red bricks impassive,
not impressed at such a small bloodletting.
Roisting on the Spanish Steps, by Via
Borgognona, Death and Time hoist up one
more espresso. Laughing: All nights are young
to them. Meanwhile Fate, so grey and furred, sleeps
peaceful, curled around the table leg.

###

Categories: Poetry

2 replies »

  1. Thank you for publishing this extraordinary work.
    Brilliantly titled (as if side-stepping the caterwauling air of Fate). This poem moves me, in a cleansing way, to tears of understanding about the inevitable. A rich and thought-provoking tapestry of text.

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