Black Mistress

Alberto Moravia never spoke about

his woman of Rome


She is the black mistress of champagne

rustic summertime cherries stained on linen

Frank Sinatra under her skin


She walks the cobblestone streets

of Roman nights alone


She sings the crescendo of her jazz blues

into magnetic syndrome


Sarah Vaughan on a sleepless night

Dinah Washington at twilight


She skirts her venom through the air

lifting her Persephone antics and torture

from her shrivelled womb to celestial woe

past bombardments of the colossal Coliseum

and its glow


this putana does not know gloom

She walks the Appian Way as a light-hearted heathen

She taints the streets of Rome in pagan rift

alone at night

Published on Writing Beyond History. An Anthology of Prose and Poetry, Montreal, Cusmano, 2006

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