The map paints a picture in the mind,
the great sweep of Naples Bay
blue against the creamy sand
and there, like a ghost rising
from those 50 year old pages,
the Via Roma snakes.

Your father’s land, his growing up place
before the war dragged him to yours,
to father you, give an Italian name,
then send him back again.

“Oh Italy” you mother wrote
“I give you back your son.”
He never came again
she never went,
the father you grew up with
was a different man.

Too late you traced him,
four years too late,
always wanting a brother
you gained 3 at a stroke:
but they were circumspect,
the story that your mother left
still just a story
little confirmed or denied,
the mysteries maintained.

You will not go,
for you it was enough
to let the story rest,
Italy and the war … too far away.


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