That was long ago, in some big city somewhere
when old, stained coins were tossed with the swiftest flick of a wrist
into antediluvian penny fountains by international tourists
holidaying in Rome,
their faces red, and heads baseball-capped with familiar American logos.
Did you think that they watched, as if spectators at a match,
as their pennies swam to the very bottom, diving through thick clouds of water,
and falling heads or tails side up over the other ones
that once shone bronze,
like pearls embedded deep into the ocean’s floor?
I still recall a time when you said you wanted to go to Italy
when you thought of this, picturing to yourself the white beard of water
flowing from the frothing mouths of Renaissance fountains,
the sweating students gathering, sallow-skinned and backpacked, at corners,
waiting for their turn,
the siren of a policeman on a motorbike in the distance,
breaking up the bilingual song of a city now chandeliered by nothing
but the echo of the streetlights’ curfewed glow.
Edel Hanley is currently researching for a PhD in women’s war writing at University College Cork, following the completion of her MA in Modernities: British and American Literature and Film, also at UCC. Edel has previously published poetry and fiction in Bookhub Publishing’s anthology, #mentalhealthformillennials, The New Writer’s Café Magazine, Crannog Magazine, and Quarryman Literary Journal.