my body feels like the Bell Tower
in Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico.
Stretching to fly through the white
Longing to reach the blue.
My body is a seed planted a foot beneath the soil,
I look up and can see a crack in the cobbled piazza stones.
If I could reach my arm up just a bit higher,
perhaps I might push a finger through to the air.
With a little sunlight
With a little water
With a little wonder
A branch my might sprout from my fingernail
and call forth the other three and bring along my thumb.
And give them each courage to push through the Earth
into the light, to see the white, to ponder the blue.
Perhaps a shoulder might follow
Upward Upward Upward
dragging my neck and head with it,
until at last my torso would be above the earth
like the Bell Tower.
My feet planted on the the ancient stones
My veins and tendons and sinews and ligaments
reaching down into the Earth like the tree I will become.
The Bell Tower knows its foundation is strong.
It allows itself to lean a little, as it has gradually done since 1297.
Should I stand on two feet again, will I allow myself to tilt to one side with as much grace, trusting I won’t fall over?
Only we humans mourn our imperfect state.
Towers are humbled to stand at all.
Their stairs climbed by young and old.
Their bells rung by the curious and jubilant.
Does the Bell Tower feel hobbled to its place?
Or has it found grace in immobility?
Is it happy merely to be in the presence of the Sun,
Whipped by the Winds,
Does it care about its battle scars?
Last night as the thunders roared and the lightning sang
I lay awake dreaming of Siena.
I wonder if the Bell Tower remembers me, as I do it.
An old Italian man followed me up the narrow stairway,
grabbing my ass as I climbed.
I turned to scold him and he said,
“What do you want me to do?
Like the Tower itself.
You should be proud.”
Only a fool would argue with that.