Vernazza, I dream of your pastel homes
clinging to steep, rugged cliffs
in hues of lemon, peach, sienna
My last visit too brief
I climb to your heights
Stand at the entry to Corniglia’s trail
as the sun sets and church bells chime.
Our route to Florence, perilous mountain roads
We must leave before darkness falls.
Today, tour groups invade
clog your harbour, choke your narrow streets
body heat increasing humidity
Your once tranquil town
full of chatter, camera clicks, clanging cutlery
I climb your steep carruggi, step upon step.
Hikers finished the trail, zip by.
Amid hanging laundry and bright window boxes,
a tiny grey cat peers up from her doorstep
seems to entreat, “take my photo”
Then meanders down the lane
I continue to the trailhead
clothes damp with perspiration.
Sea sparkling below
Do I want to hike crowded trails in May weather
that’s thrust me into July?
It’s easier descending
hazelnut gelato awaits.