Piazza Pilo

Listen to Rosanna Warren reading “Piazza Pilo.” The low stone and stucco wall opens    in gaps; you can pass

through, cross diagonally, or meander
     within; you can sit on one of

eight slatted benches under elms and read the paper, you
     can sit on the wall and chat or

listen to the radio if it’s night and you’re young, you can walk
     your dog: the park accepts

all, its pebbles crunch under business shoes as under
     sneakers ambling, the dog-walker’s

loiter, trudge of an elderly woman laden
     with plastic grocery bags, the full-tilt

charge of one boy chasing
     another. If you’re crippled

or retarded you can sit here and the elms
     don’t rush their friendliness, they are

just poking into frowsy leaf, it’s April, they
     seem happy to have you, so are the

old German shepherd and her terrier friend, so are
     the grayish men with newspapers: you

can throne in your wheelchair and take the sun, or hunch
     on the wall and mumble. The park

knows how to receive, how to
     let go. Its puddles sink

(it rained last night) slowly out of
     sight. If you’re sick, aging, in love,

the park shows you how to follow the score,
to keep the beat. The dance is

larger. Nightingales pelt out songs
     at dawn where last night’s trash

spills from the corner basket. You could
     let someone kiss you, slowly:

you could open your mouth to surprise, a
     gift the gods

grant with other gifts: the staggering heart,
     ashes on the tongue, long patience at slow

breakage. Prayer. The word
     “unhealed.” The word “farewell.”