What trippers surround me, barrio boy from the Rio,
In search of Moses’ inch-long horns off Tiber’s shores?
Corollas and cobblestone and construction outside four foot fence,
Saint Peter in Chains, backpacks and babies clinging
To bodies buckling with New World burdens: selfie-sticks,
Credit cards no cash, McGraw textbooks out of print, and stabbed mace cans.
But I walk. Warm are Rome’s forgotten ashes, yet Europe
Remembers blind artists dancing on hillsides black
With the shadow of the sunrise that opens the tombs to All-Time.
I breathe your dust, Michelangelo, whose Moses
Cannot taste unleavened bread, cannot speak for the speechless,
And cannot blink with the flash cameras shuttering memories.
Prophet of millennia, expatriate in Roman church,
I will find the nexus of marble, flesh, and art,
And touch your beard. Consider this, says the woman with earbuds plugged,
Back then, sculptures could turn their heads and live again.
In the future, in the future, I thought, when the world dies,
And Rome’s phantoms, free from sculpted poses, live on, laughing at us.
Image: Rome by Herb Neufeld