by Mary Jo Balistreri
Late sun touches our alley like an acolyte this day
in summer's waning. You would have enjoyed
the softened color, the way shade and shadow offer
quietness as presence—like the Romanesque churches
that pleased you. They suggest the long view, you always
said, and here too, at the end of the narrow stone floor,
the sea awaits. I can almost hear seagulls bugle
somewhere beyond the breakers.
The gold-covered tables are the same though empty. Still,
the kind light of our shared understanding hovers: within
potted evergreens waving in a small wind, the flowering
canopy. Remember how those purple-green pendants
would swell toward sweetness? How we'd inhale
the fruity fragrance, toast each other with a flute of Prosecco?
The scent is more mellow today, muted with leaving,
a hint of fall in the air. Your absence looms large
but there is serenity here too, my love. It assuages the ache
of losing you. I needed to come back one last time
and now I'm satisfied. Peace fills my heart as I walk away,
our memories preserved in amber.