Gordon Smedt © 2019

Gordon Smedt © 2019


by James Brasfield

Founding cities

for my son, Will

Eventually, where we are
will be found between a there
and a there, and here we are, two o’clock,
a Sunday afternoon in May,
sunlight on the maples along the Tiber
and breeze enough to make the leaves tremble,
to rock gently the branches between
the dark current and loud cars
and Vespas passing the Ponte Sisto.

That breeze now, in here, ruffles the tall drapes,
their delicate, flowered embroidery. 
The pane is cracked nearly the height of the window,
likely a beer bottle smack, its leisurely line,
like a trail or creek mapped through Stone Valley,
our home in Pennsylvania, its passage
natural as graffiti on the arched columns
next door at Via del Politeama, as on a wall
off Broad Street in Philadelphia—here and there,

winged seeds and dust through the air.


James Brasfield is the author of Infinite Altars and Ledger of Crossroads.