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The Spanish Steps

Closed to the tourists

the steps lounge above us

staring in reverse irony.

Years ago of a hot summer —

seventeen — you sat here for hours

listening to wandering Hippies,

street toughs peddling

their wares.


What is that summer to your

years? Keats’s house is

now refurbished, its earth tones

warm in evening light —

you and I down Via Sistina.


To go back to that awkward age

positioned on sunlit hands

reclined on marble stairs.

In some ways you wait for me there

in traces of gray hair, in

the wrinkles at the edge of your chin —

American boy of summer — with no care

to move on.


I read now in another century

the handsome youths would pose

hoping for an artist’s hands

to render them dearer

and so it would seem I think of you —

the boy you were before —

your body on the steps — idle, new,

restless to be chosen.

from Circuit by Walter Holland © 2010

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