What I see when I look up

A hedgehog
The sky over a pond
That you can’t tell connects to the ocean
(but I know that it does)
The view over the river that runs through Florence
(I forget its name)
Bears. I’m the Curious One.
The view from a gondola in Venice
Half in
Half out of the light
And a cat, Le Chat Gourmet,
That tells the story of all the trust I didn’t have
When I needed to have trust

There are three pictures of the arboretum
That I used to spend my summers in
One has me on the river bank,
(by the big concrete pipe that isn’t there now)
One just my feet and the river
One has the river and no feet at all

There is Alfred Kinsey, looking young
And smart
And sexy
(wearing boots)
And fish in a Japanese fish market,
And the meanest Annunciation I’ve ever laid eyes on

There are Elvis impersonators at a Florence Cafe
And while we’re in Florence
There are also these locks, a whole bunch of them
Like grapes
But brass and steel
Hanging from a big iron ring on a bridge

And there are pieces of wood that jutt up like fingers
from a beach
And rocks piled on rocks
And trees peaking over a hedge
And skulls
And chefs
And even more Florence, a view of the roofs
I obviously can’t get enough of that city
And Sweden! A little red house and a big blue water
What water, I do not know

There is a feast of cheeses and grapes, a painting
A still life, I guess
And some purple glass
And the fortunes from cookies that say things like
“You are heading in the right direction”
Because sometimes I need the reminder.

And there is a cathedral
Sunk somehow into the ground
I don’t know how, but I remember the feeling
Looking down on that Gothic arch
And feeling out of place, like maybe I had suddenly
Been shunted up into the sky, like the earth I was on
Was not real earth
Looking down at what I should have been looking up at

And there is a dragon of course,
And there are bats
Mama bat
Baby bat
There are cards for the restaurant that changed my life
And for the tea room that saved me when I was wandering
Alone around people
February; New York, cold and confused
But basically glad of my own independence

And an arch
And a forest fire
And Harper’s Christmas edition, with a cat and a lady
And a vase full of flamingos
The conical top of a basket that tends to hold pens
And bones
And oddments
And a sign that says simply:

I’m not mean
you’re just a sissy.

And sometimes there are to-do lists
The palmistry cards that I get from machines
In the places that still have the sort of mechanical wonders
That give you palmistry cards
And sometimes there are leaves that I think are pretty
In the moment, though that moment can disappear quickly

And if you think that this is pretty writing
Or that I’m creative
You must understand, it’s an accurate record
It’s truth

This is what I see
When I look up

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