Monday, January 4, 2016


Today, on the brink of Christmas
and my 69th birthday
I find myself looking out
not through French-style rose-colored glasses
but through my Italian windows
the ones that bear the signature,
la firma, the leitmotif of this house that we brought back to life.

That signature, even at the age of eight and a half, continues to reveal
multiple possibilities:
Could be a butterfly, but a rare one like Nabokov's Karner Blue
Or a flower? A four-leaf clover?
Or four bodies with a head and curvy linked arms--an Italian-style
Family of Man?

Unlike a coat of arms that one is born into
this logo was the one we chose--
a design inspired by what we saw
on the gates, the "cancelli"
of our adopted country

I'm not even sure of the Italian equivalent of "la vie en rose"
"Ottimista" is all that I can think of
or the oft-used "magari," that oh-so-hopeful "maybe"
How can one not love a country that has a verbal tic like that?

I need to check the origins of "firma" whose solid sound radiates feet-on-the-ground permanence
like the head-on-shoulders interpretation of my window motif.

And what about those "cancelli"
that mark our entrance and exit
from this property?
Is something being cancelled out?
Welcomed in?
Ushered out?

Usually at war with ugly prepositions, I see that I have embraced them here, and
ditto for those gerunds so pesky in English or French
but that are full of positive energy in Italian.

In three short weeks I will exit these cancelli
re-don my French and American hats, fly like a butterfly across the ocean, and magari land on terra firma, having kept my head on my shoulders, keeping in mind that my butterfly-adorned cancelli will be waiting for my May return.

And magari, to think in those terms will not be
Looking at life
through rose-colored glasses.

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