The Rock Above Cefalu

They call it La Rocca. We climb it
almost by accident, every turn
in the puzzle of streets an incline
until houses run out like pines at tree line
and we're left with nothing
but a dirt path up. What to do but take it.
Along the trail, flowers we can't name
press their last blossoms to dust.
We keep on through the choke and clutter
of weeds and watch the town diminish
beneath us. Such a small place.
And what of our place?
You're too young for the heart attack
you've lived through, and I'm
nearly too old to bear
the children I've always sworn I wanted.
On the edge of forty we wonder
if we've done our whole lives wrong.
Here we stand in the ruin
of someone else's battlements,
walls put up for war or against it,
and all that's clear is that
even stone can be broken.
Tell me the words for hard, for happy.
Let's see if I can say them.

Poems by Melody Lacina:

Looking for Comet Hyakutake
On Seeing a Nude Self-Portrait of Imogen Cunningham

On the Telephone
What My Friend Says When She Gives Me a Persimmon

Coming Down Mount Etna
The Rock Above Cefalu
What I Believe In
Talking To God
After I Die

TIMES TEN: An Anthology of Northern California Poets