One Never Knows

The past is never  



without warning

it may surface

like a rubbing of indented writing,

indelible traces of

bygone days,

although often

specific recollections of

who and what

elude me.

A young man accosts me in the piazza

of a hill town where I had gone

in search of pottery for my shop.

Remember me?

You were my English teacher.

I’ll never forget the fun we had

when the book had us do,

what I guess you called possessives,

my and your.

I play with my balls,

You play with your balls.

You got through that lesson in record time.

Years ago, how many?

A Christmas card from California.

A tour of Italy with friends.

Orvieto. I fell on the steps

of the Cathedral and broke my  wrist.

None of us spoke Italian.

You called the ambulance

and helped me in the hospital

when I couldn’t understand a word.

Years ago, how many?

An unexpected  thank-you note.

Easter. Orvieto was crowded

with visitors from abroad.

All Italians too seemed

to be on the move.

I had no place to stay

and even towns twenty

or more kilometers away

had not a single empty bed.

You can stay with me, you said.

Years ago, how many?

I did manage to scrape through the narrow streets

with my rented car.

As I tried to find my way out

I continuously found myself

passing the same buildings.

You showed me how

to get from A to B

when I had gone astray.

Years ago, how many?

The school year was just starting.

Junior year abroad.

Sitting on the bus

in Amsterdam

not knowing anyone

I felt lost and alone.

You came, sat next to me,

and I soon felt at home.

Yes, years ago

paths crossed

and you and I went on our way

oblivious of the future.

It was simply part of life,

relegated to the past, or so we thought.

Yet time, that draws a veil

over yesterday’s events,

refuses to let go.

When we least expect it

a word, a tune, a color, a fragrance, 

will bring back yesterday

into today.

3 thoughts on “One Never Knows

  1. Beautiful Erika, this really resonates with me. My “yesterdays” frequently invade my head pushing out current thoughts or keeping me awake at night. Just last evening at a dinner party for my neighbor Pamela, I spoke out about an embarrassing family incident my father did over 50 years ago, something I have never before mentioned to anyone. The past is never past, as you eloquently stated.


  2. Erika You are the heroine in a thousand Italian nights… the Shahrazad with a huge nonjudgmental heart… everyone’s personal best friend… as I dreamed of you a few nights ago… Still looking for the autobiography! ❤️ J

    Sent from my iPhone



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