By Abigail Carroll - Winooski, Vermont, USA - 24 May 2015



The nuns serve us leek and garlic soup in white
bowls with silver spoons round as the moon
and deep. I sketch the poplars from the window,
rows of lavender, listen to the hills. We walk


the cobbles, consider wood shutters painted sand
and rose through which, the guidebook tells us,
you launched your father’s silks and fine French
cloths. The air in the church is damp -- cave-like


and old. Ochre is the cross that hangs beneath
a yellow light, brown the hooded frocks of friars
who sandal past and speak low tones. Five or six
squeeze in a car -- dented, blue, and rimmed


with rust. We stare and stare, try not to laugh --
now we know that monks can drive! But what
is really on my mind is this: gelati. Never before
have I seen such pinks and mauves and limes:


lemon, coffee, almond, melon, fig -- each striking
its own private deal with the eye. On the fifth day
or so we finally give in -- point at the glass and treat
our tongues to a taste of the town you called home.


Then, on to the basilica to see your tomb. I am ten,
and the air is calling my name. When we board
the bus to take us down the hill to the train, I believe
in knights and voices, miracles and saints.