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San Miniato




a sudden buzz
a divebomb at night
my right arm
something made out of nothing
A Tuscan hillside. A monastery. I
sit alone at a round table in
Miravalle, the local restaurant.
Andrea, the drama teacher, arrives.
He bows a punctilious hello, flicks
back a thick, caressing wave of
black hair over his temple, and sits
at another round table. He is an
I am the poet I sit alone
overnight, my inner right arm is angrier than a mosquito
Andrea runs the summer course.
He flirts with the young women,
slippy straps on shoulder-bare
camisole tops. He wears a black
leather jacket, carries a black
leather bag. He checks his hairline
carefully each morning for signs of
flecked grey.
I am the poet I sit alone
the pharmacist tells me
I have very sweet blood
oil of lavender
sharp on the skin

Andrea opens doors for me, a code
rusted from centuries of
chivalric use. He calls it courtesy.
I say they are not the same thing.
that night
I talk to the mosquito bite
upper inner arm red field spreads
the mosquito cannot buzz in English
The acting exercises are like
leather. Smooth. Soft. Malleable. The
cool monastery room smells of
rosemary, anchovies spring to
mind. I watch.
I am the poet I applaud
bread olive oil and salt are cake
bright yellow duck egg dense omelette
hot yellow
ham and formaggio are cake
I am born into taste at my round table
white bread in olive oil
salt hits my palate
sweet and sharp
outside it rains
jasmine and eucalyptus and oleander
in the cool air my arm cools
The leather factories are in Ponte a
Egola. Bus, train, TV aerials. The
scent of tanning fills the air. Soft
leather curls round the nape of my
neck, a soft black leather jacket,
loose and cooling. It fits as if made
for me. I buy it and it is made for
me. My leather lover.
I am an artista
mozzarella bufala and basilica
red white and green
The end of the week Andrea joins
me at my round table. The slippy-
strap students wave to us. Blasts of
cool air from barred
windows. Outside a leaf floats, a
bell, a bird in a mirror in yellow, red
and black.
you have sweet blood
whine mosquitoes in the night
I wear my new black leather jacket,
my dark hair streaked with grey.
Drama and poetry. There is a buzz
in the monastery room. Listeners
look out across a green valley
streaked with houses.
the mosquitoes buzz
we are artisti
we make something out of nothing

Michelene Wandor is a poet, playwright, short story writer and the curator-author of Four Words. She has also written a critique of Creative Writing — The Author is Not Dead, Merely Somewhere Else: Creative Writing Reconceived (Palgrave). This poem is from her new poetry collection, Travellers (Arc, 2021).

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