Joseph Soldati

Moon on the Wing | Evening | 1947 | Quo Vadis, Debbie?

Quo Vadis
, Debbie?

[The Imperial Theater, Charlotte, N.C., 1951]

I reached puberty the same year the pagans
Tied Deborah Kerr to the stake in the Colosseum.
Before all of Rome, but for my eyes only,
She wore a Virgin's blue, gossamer gown
That I swore for years I saw through:
Those white, perfectly British breasts,
Recently Christianized,
About to be martyred in my memory.
The bull leered at her and slobbered,
The mob jeered at her and cheered the bull;
Together we quivered against the stake.
A breeze sneaked in off the Tiber,
Turning the gown into a blue cloud,
Exposing the known-world's most wonderful thighs.
Pax Romana!
Conversion and salvation at hand,
My melted Junior Mints fell to the floor.
(In Apocalypse Clam, Finishing Line Press, 2006)



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