End of the line – a poem

End of the line

The tram flashes
its yellow stripes
and slices through
the street.
Abandoning
the caged and silent faces
hiding from the day
behind a thousand wheels.

Only the wasps
are free enough
to fly along
beside us
with their engines buzzing.
At least until
the concrete and the steel paths
brush cheeks
and part like lovers.

Further north
we stop
and wait awhile
in the stone cold shadow
of a wall that maybe
once held back
invading hordes
and there we wait
for new and hopefully
exotic faces.

They clamber up
with a bundle of umbrellas
under every arm
and watch the sky
and pray for rain
with sad brown eyes.
But nothing changes
so they sigh
and go on tapping out
a message home.

We rattle down the veins
that lead us closer to
the city’s heart.
I watch the walls
and try to learn
the rhythm of the words
before they slide
beyond the reach of memory.
Earnest declarations
of love and war
and the invitation
to a party that ended
sometime last year.

We swing away
again and feel
the groaning as we sway
with every twisted piece of track.
I grip the rail
more tightly in salute
and stare across
an old grey head
to where the rest
of Rome is stretching out
the night-ache from its legs.

Until we grind along
the last straight mile
that takes us past
Esquilino and stops beneath
the trees
to spit us out
like orange seed
among the weeds that grow
between the tracks
at the Laziali end
of the line.

Copyright David Bastiani 2015

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About davidbastiani

I write words and sometimes they end up in the right order. I am the creator of Milo Peretti - Rome's newest private detective - and I'm currently working on my debut novel, The Colour of Weeping. I also write poetry. Sometimes I might let people read it. View all posts by davidbastiani

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