Why is it when I call to order pizza, and I want pepperoncini,
you correct me every time? I say it properly, with a “ch,”
and you hiss it back at me, pepperonsssssini.
And I wonder –

Have you gone to the San Marco monastery in Florence?
Have you climbed the steps and stood
in front of Fra Angelico’s Annunciation?
When you see its rebellious grace,
the only thing you can do is stand there and cry

How about this – can you spell Savonarola?
How about iconoclast? Or try pancetta?
Have you read Dante’s Divine Comedy?
You know it isn’t funny, right?
And did you know Dante loved Virgil
who loved dactylic hexameter?

And do you know dactyl means finger?
When you hand me my receipt, I wonder
why you have a different daisy painted
on each of your fingernails.
It’s been too many years since I pinched
their little white cheeks with questions

Anyway, maybe you haven’t heard Antonio Stradavari
made over a thousand different instruments and violins
were just part of the harps and violas and
guitars cluttering his workshop

And did you have any inkling
the earliest guitars were made with four strings
to symbolize the four humors (not funny either).
Then they added the fifth string for the heart,
for our plucky, plucked hearts

Anyway, dear daisied hisser, I hope you get to Levanto someday,
and when you do, take in the limoncello air,
all those blue boats crowded on the beach
like a flock of exotic birds.