in the backward facing seat in the way-back of our
gold behemoth 1957 Plymouth station wagon under
millions – a universe – of twinkling stars – heaven’s light
escaping. Alps behind us, Bologna and Rome ahead, the road in
its sixth or seventh hour of sickening switch-backs, and we’re singing
“For you and I have a guardian angel,” and I’m crying softly. There’s
a breeze. Dad’s cigarette smoke snakes its way back into the car. Sharp.
The three other kids are quiet, perhaps sleeping. Who else could ever know
what these children know? Even then you and I sensed this could happen only once.
…Racing up hundreds of steps in Rome and Pisa, what was our hurry?
Did we really eat our first lasagna at a travelers’ rest perched on an
Alpine mountainside? Sweat through a papal audience in a Rococo
palace, and shiver by bones in the catacombs? Perfume and must.
We were always looking for meteorites amidst mica-flecked rock.