a man

and a woman

and a man

and another one

and another woman

each with cameras around their necks and the lens caps on

speaking in voices loud, soft, hushed, disbelieving

never dismissive

they are many, but if we were here in summer they would be more;


a man and his son

two generations of tall

and noses,

made for short people’s faces,

drifted from cousins perhaps, or aunts;


a girl who twists her finger into her hair and smiles the way of

the boy who, as we waited outside, brushed his hand against hers

and his soul against mine

leaving on mine the kind of bruise which his has not yet earned;


their teacher, who I envy not, over-filled bag over stretched shoulder

she has seen their look

and looked away

and now she talks to the girl who sits,

on the chair against the pillar,

arms crossed against her chest

her gaze on David;


sisters growing old together

diamond rings

and scarves in shades of cream

nods answering words in the rhythms

of the known and the expected;


a woman watching;


me and my lads on the bench circling behind

youngest sketching Roman soldiers

and the eldest listing synonyms

derriere, posterier, ass, arse, buttcheeks, butt, bum, bum-bum, earths.

David von Michelangelo
Photo by Rico Heil ((User:Silmaril)) (private photo) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons