Cinema Paradiso

When Alfredo lets the film fly on its beam of light,

I Pompieri di Viggiù comes to roost

on a tenement block, rippling the hard lines

of masonry. Isn’t love sleight of hand after all?

You and I, in rainy Islington, among discrete

coughs and rustles, spoon Sicily’s raw energy

into our souls. Giant faces undulate over shutters

in the hot body of night. A couple on the cliff edge

of passion, lips parted, noses positioned, close in

for the . . . Twenty years, and they’ve never

let us see a kiss! wails an old Sicilian; the withheld

moment like a slap across the wrists.

How we laugh, as the priest rings his hand bell

and Alfredo snips each corrupting frame.

Kisses drop to the floor, shiny as snakes; alive

in our minds as only the unsaid can be.