When, in a sprawling subterranean housewares shop
of Rome, I asked the price of some wine glasses,
and the salesman told me and then told me
to veni qui, to come here, I went.
He showed me some other glasses.
Do you like these? he asked. I don’t speak
much Italian so said only, yes, I like,
crystale, he said, and pinged the glass
with a fingernail. Yes, I repeated, crystale.
And then he touched my arm and said veni qui,
veni qui, and so we went to another part
of the breakable underworld where real
about-to-be-married Italians were filling
their bridal registry and so like me did not yet
have all their words for negativity
and he stopped before another set of glasses
and said, you like? And again, yes, I liked.
And again he rang the tiny bell of what he was
trying to sell me. And then, arm touch, come here,
and then yes, I like. This went on for some time
until I’d liked it all. I liked and was like every glass
he held. All I was was touched. All I could say was yes
to everything but I bought just two small glasses
from which you and I have yet to drink.
Copyright © Rebecca Hoogs
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.