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by Ed Bennett

Painters came here for the light.
a full day of generous sun
to caress the soul's palate.
It made Il Duomo glow
like a decadent Renaissance duke
recumbent on a rug of red rooves
outside the veined windows
of our Florentine hostel.

We were younger then
with opinions on every canvas
and the public bronzes in every piazza,
amused by the newly learned idioms
of a language we likened to song.
There was, for me,
the image of your sinuous limbs
wrapped in rough cotton sheets
lit by a painter's sun
in the leisure moments of late morning.

We returned to our memories
stripped of youthful convictions,
you standing closer to Cellini's Medusa
too proud to be seen in glasses
while I limped across the Ponte Vecchio
searching for the diamond, the gift
I could not give in those days
when we reveled in our first love, Firenze.

The Old City is eternal,
an ormolu for lovers to strike
chosen moments into memories,
to cast off age and pretension,
the weighted dross of passing days
that covered your smile
but never your soul.


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