Annihilate everything, but leave me aperitivo.
The one yesterday on Piazza Navona will do,
where we ate with a moppet’s delight on a single
seven-euro spritz, our backs to an obelisk
shading prostrate gods upon travertine rock,
their expressions fixed in eternal inquiry.
Stare too long and you as well will doubt.
White walls, brick, and marble gleamed orange
while belfries above, like children cupping fire-
flies, captured vestiges of vanishing light.
How could we not feel a little mellow, slightly
defeated, to be humbled before the grace
of stone and heaven, far from the dueling
siblings of ambition and change? Around us
were the same camera lenses, the familiar
bag-toting visitors on prepaid getaways
or absconding from heartbreak.
We said little, did little more than sink
into our drinks in this place without need
for more history, or to be scrawled into
another notebook. But it was hard not to think:
Who will remember, when we are gone?
© ANTHONY TAO
PUBLISHED IN MICHIGAN QUARTERLY REVIEW (ISSUE NO. 58:4, Fall 2019)