What do they know,
these tourist-birds circling Rome?
Are they amused at the human pace below,
hustling toward gelato or pizza,
posing for selfies before antique fountains
or the vista from the Spanish Steps?
Are they pleased at the lovers
entwined in public,
enticing discovery and inviting fantasies?
Do they know more than we do
about those builders of deteriorating sureties
that once were the boast of empire,
the braggadocio of tyrants,
the certainties of pontiffs
(their naming rights carved in stone
across this urbs aeterna)?
Or do they mock me,
listening at my courtyard window,
a fleeting visitor like them,
longing to return to the sea?