As the Romans do
It’s July already and here’s Monica Vitti,
turning the glass doors at Hotel Palazzo-
the way she steps out in pink sling-backs,
so everyone looks, scooters swerve to stop,
a Ferrari prangs the rear of a Lamborghini,
even the hot pavement has given itself up to her-
the steady clip, clip of those heels up the steps,
into the cathedral, where angels sing falsetto
as she crosses herself, lights a candle, kneels
between a millionaire businessman from Milan,
and an old nun, who thumbs her rosary and tuts.
He knew all there is to know about
backhanders, backstabbers, baksheesh,
the back way out, when to back off,
the cold shoulder, the hard stare,
how to take it, fake it, keep quiet,
keep face, keep on, how to wait,
how long a metal door vibrates,
how to break in, break out, break up,
the tip-offs, the drop-offs, the dealers
and squealers, the smack, crack, snow.
He took great pride in learning the argot,
technical terms, frames of reference.
He knew too much about the brothers.
They knew enough about him.