The last few times I was in the European Union,
it took a lot more than a dollar to equal one euro.
Didn’t matter where you went, that euro, like a Monarch,
was seated two or three steps above.
Near The Pantheon, I chose a large green apple
from a streetside cart, the peddler waggled four fingers.
I gave him his four Euro for my one apple.
I took a picture of a man lingering in the doorway
of a ristorante near Trevi. He tapped his pants pocket,
raised his hand. Skin rub of thumbpad against fingers,
then peace sign, all the while nodding his head and
shadowing me like a Pittsburgh Steeler defensive back.
“I deleted it” I called in English and turned the camera
so he could see himself draining into
An empty street café in late afternoon shadow of The Vatican
I ordered minestrone and house wine for 22 euro.
The waiter shoo-ed me by swiping at air with his towel.
“Oh no, oh no, I make no money of you!”
Then down the street from an abbey in a neighborhood
far down the
simple clothes wound round small stature, held a tight bunch
of short-stemmed lilacs and a card lettered 10e.
I twirled my hand round the camera “Photo?”
She smiled oui, extended her forehead toward me.
Later I looked at her digital-self and asked
why oh why hadn’t I reached to buy her lilacs?
I can smell them even now.