Rooftops

 

“What an easy way to die,”
you said in some trance atop the tower in Florence,
looking over all the red-topped roofs.

 

And now I stand here again,
three years later
wondering what you’re thinking about at this moment.

 

Memories like these come back in fragments,
with soft pictures of elephant and rhino sketches
just fragments of who you were
(cuts you said were chinchilla claws)
intertwining with this older more scarred you I now see.

 

I can’t now picture
the length your hair was or the expression in your eyes.
But I see the scarred you now, as if you were standing next to me looking over the rusty rooftops,
rusty like dried blood.
I’d hold your hand and squeeze
as if you were holding me back
from jumping,
if you were here now.

But this day things are different.
I see a mountain of greenery beyond blood-tipped rooftops.
Those trees weren’t in my memory -
I wonder if they were in yours.

I start noticing the depth of the city,
in three dimensions where my memory only has two,
but if you were here I’d see in four.

And there’s this domed church
and I think I climbed that one with you too,
and I think I thought of tumbling down the convex roof,
wondering if it would feel like being free.

Freedom is impossible, at times,
for people like you and I
who trap ourselves in blood.
Alone I am a stranger,
but perhaps one day
I can learn to fly.