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The Road to Cortine
by Sharon Auberle
Now begins the soft road
that knew the tramp of Roman legions,
footsteps of an Etruscan woman,
the rolling gait of medieval priests.
Sunrays gild the dust, vineyards
olive trees, a field of poppies and me,
jet-lagged seeker of peace.
I pass the ancient church
where doves return for the night,
pause at the shrine to Sebastiani,
killed in World War II.
The Black Rooster sign
swings in a light breeze,
laughter ringing out over me
and Ettore, the inn gardener–
arms filled with roses,
ever-present cigarette dangling from his lips.
Lucia, Elena and Elisa call out greetings
and Stefano swings open our iron gate.
They drive off in a cloud of dust
and when it clears I see you,
waiting for me by the arbor.
Inside our stone house,
in the last beam of light,
we pour glasses of Chianti,
rich and red as the setting sun