Two Cities

Two Cities
by Theodora Goss

Here, beneath the snows of February,
I think of you, so very far away,
in a city made of poetry and time,
painted like sunflowers and zinnias,
yellow and orange and deep rose,
where sunlight falls on the green river
and people are drinking strong coffee
around glass tables in small cafés.

Here in this city of gray stone
that has barricaded itself against winter,
all the doors shut like eyes, the automobiles
silent on roads covered with ice and salt,
even the pigeons sleeping, feathers ruffled
by a harsh wind blowing from the north,
only the branches of bare trees
creaking like stairs in an old house,

I huddle by the radiator, remembering
when I last walked along those ancient streets
beneath stucco angels and neoclassical gods,
or through squares scented with lavender.
Your words bring it back to me again:
the city of dreams, city of my imagination,
more beautiful because you are in it,
sending me occasional postcards

that I stuff in my pockets so when I go outside
into the bitter air, which freezes tears
against my face, which turns my nose red
and makes my fingers ache despite thick gloves,
I can put my hands in my pockets. Your words,
those images, keep them warm enough
to avoid losing all sensation.

(The image is Woman Leaning with Dog and Still Life by Pierre Bonnard.)

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