At Formicola (revised)

He hasn’t touched her all week.
Not a palm on the small of her back when they pushed
through an alley crowded with street vendors, or
a freckled arm pulling her closer in the dark.

He used to touch her without thinking. He’d beat a rhythm
on her knuckles when their fingers laced together,
tap her nose when she slept late in the mornings, zip her jacket
before they both walked out the door.

They drove up to the top of this mountain so he could take pictures
of stars. She’s leaning into the cold metal of their rented Italian car,
searching for the boastful queen’s husband in the sky.
She can always find the crooked W of Cassiopeia. It’s the king – the leaning house,
a sideways pentagon whose name she never can remember – who eludes her.

The bright curve of moon swings its low arc across the skyline and they’re still
on the top of this mountain. He’s taking pictures of stars. She’s leaning
up against the car, her search for the nameless king
surrendered. Now she stares at the open splinter of the moon.


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