Miranda Lynn Barnes
A Seizure in the Duomo
I will tell you everything
was lit in a divinity of fire,
even the graffiti near the bell
wrapped in a wire fence,
the hillside russet-laced and green
beyond the city.
In the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
there are four-hundred and sixty three
steps to the lantern, flights in corkscrews
and jagged slants, and in that spiral
stairway made of stone
she froze and she fell
and she shook
and I caught her.
I remember the sounds she made,
staccato bursts, raspy and guttural,
the wide fear in her vacant eyes,
as I held her head and one arm
with all my strength.
She almost struck her skull
as I gripped her, realising
I was screaming
An Italian woman gave her sugar water
after her limp body revived enough
to move her down where God
and his angels were painted
on the dome.
She later tells me she does not remember Italy,
even though we saw the David,
got lost in Venice trying to find
the Cathedral of San Marco,
and drank six bottles of bad wine.
Miranda Lynn Barnes is a poet from the US, now resident in the UK. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in New Welsh Reader, Tears in the Fence, Under the Radar, The Compass, Lighthouse Journal and Confingo, as well as several anthologies. Miranda taught Creative Writing for five years at Bath Spa University, where she now serves as Research Publications Librarian. She lives in Bristol with her ginger cat and ginger-bearded husband. Find out more at mirandalynnbarnes.wordpress.com.