Europe | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Vintage postcard depicting the Grotta Azzurra in Capri, Italy. Courtesy of janwillemsen/flickr.

On a too hot bus, my sister and I traveled through fields of sunflowers.

Because we couldn’t stop arguing, we sat rows apart.

I see us staring out the windows. Or eating the food we took

from the motel breakfast. Bread rolls wrapped in napkins.

Little tubs of yogurt. I see us washing our hands

in the thin stream of water in the bus’s lavatory.

Wanting to apologize, but too embarrassed of our inability

to protect or soothe the other. Far away, our mother had died,

though we didn’t know it. Our grandmother, rightly afraid

of how we’d bear the news, waited until we returned to tell us.

I was seventeen and she was twenty. I see us writing postcards

from Florence and Capri. Today I swam in the Emerald Grotto…

Our handwriting wobbly from the vibrations of the bus—

gaps and smudges where one pen ran dry and another began,

rows of drowsy hearts beneath our names.

Chloe Honum grew up in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, and currently lives in Texas. She is the author of the poetry collections The Tulip-Flame and Then Winter.
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