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.
The city a vast cardboard
full of luscious oases
Past the noisy cigar filled casinos
with artificial blue sky and fluffy clouds
grow glass poppies the size of small trees
Spanish moss and cherry blossoms
hang from a huge banyan tree
Sea pine, juniper and chocolate gelato
transport me to Tuscany
I am part of the glittering Eiffel Tower
As cancan dancers perform high kicks and wild splits
I find the Paris of Moulin Rouge
Bellagio’s fountains dance
I linger at street cafes
feeding sparrows fresh baguettes
tour art galleries
filled with Impressionist paintings
ride gondolas in shallow canals by Piazza San Marco
like Frank and Paul before me
I do it
Like Keats, Gail seeks to capture the essence of the moment. Gail’s writing is a response to her natural and emotional environment. Her poems have been published in Blank Spaces, Wordscape, Arborealis and on CommuterLit.com. Her creative non-fiction has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Trellis, Heartbeats, Renaissance, NOW Magazine, Blank Spaces, Our Canada and More of Our Canada.