Summer by Valerie Bacharach

           for Paul

Suppose I said summer, wrote “heat” on a notecard,
slipped it into your pocket.
Would you think of Rome?

Frozen bottles of water from street vendors
held against foreheads, the back of our necks,
a shield against wet, thick air as we wandered
among ruins and gardens.

We stopped at any store with air-conditioning,
took three showers a day, never again so clean.
And oh, that restaurant in Trastevere,
zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese, one salty anchovy,
fried to crisp decadence.

You bought me a necklace in the old Jewish ghetto
so intricate it was like holding liquid silver.
We kissed as clerks and customers applauded.

Sometimes life is so hard it seems made of stone.
But think of our last evening in that ancient city.
We strolled cobbled streets in warm night air,
the two of us slipping into each other’s heat.


Valerie Bacharach’s writing has appeared or will appear in: Vox Populi, Whale Road Review, The Blue Mountain Review, EcoTheo Review, Kosmos Quarterly Journal, Amethyst Review, On the Seawall, Poetica. Minyon Magazine, One Art, and Writer’s Foundry Review. Her chapbook Fireweed was published by Main Street Rag in 2018 and her chapbook Ghost-Mother was published by Finishing Line Press in 2021. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize.

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