Ombra della Sera

by Sam Niven

 

By mid-June
the rain had stopped.
I met him in Volterra,
after sifting through
uneven coins
in Etruscan urns.
He waited an hour.

Naked,
his smaller-than-life
body like rusted
blackcurrant,
his sagging gut
wide as my thumb.

Twenty-three hundred
years of boyhood
preserved in that
sleek box.
The murmur
of a smirk blurred
his crude visage.

The silence hung. I found
his greening eyes,
traced his vulgar stretch
twenty-two inches down
to his bare feet
and alabaster pedestal.

He stared past
me, past
the air-conditioned
halls, the empty
afternoon, the used
ticket stubs.

There, indoors,
he cast no shadow—
neither long, nor indigo,
nor evening.
I was reflected
in the rectangular glass.
He was not.