Beautiful Italians

Light-hearted heartache in Venice Station

In Venice Station, expecting a

Pleasantly late train to Padua,

I stand with my thumbprint of coffee and

Inspect the too-many standers-by, wait

For a smoker with hair like a car advert

To unfurl a skin, tap twice, look up around

Behind expressionless shades with a shady expression,

And perhaps tomorrow wait for a train.

I stir a half-spoonful of black out of

Some quasi-distraction, an actual

Effort not to be looking for a train or anything,

Or the inconsiderately beautiful Italian.

A text: “I’m here in heaven without you.”

The bitter-sugar layer of espresso dreg

Flung back like a funny little laugh;

Returned to a platform, the early train is caught.

Another had passed by.

And I’m holding the whole bar, station, island

In my hand and asking: please, please stay.

Unlike with a beautiful work of art, a beautiful person you discover on the street is seen once, glanced at for a furtive second time, and is exquisitely and achingly gone forever. They are a passing thought. Their grace, finesse and unapproachable gorgeousness will not be approached again. This in itself is beautiful. Trains are particularly romantic in this respect. 

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