There was a time when hearing Tampa made me think
about Romania: A deserted gravel pathway aged
on my way to the top of a hill, a cathedral
rising into autumn’s low cloud deck.
When I hear Tampa a decade later,
I don’t think about Romania. I think
about when I sat by a waterway in Florida,
in March, another equinox where seasons don’t change
all that much. Still, everyone is changing.
it would be warm, it stays warm
and it’s only hotter and muggier in June.
When I hear Tampa, I think about dinner with my wife
in Ybor City. A bank transformed into a restaurant,
the vault in the back empty, whatever was inside
scooped out like pumpkins
at a carving party. We enjoy Chardonnay,
stroll along wide streets after dessert,
all the veranda colors vibrant but with façades ready to crumble.
We slink down side streets like the side streets in Brașov,
disrepair hiding in the repainting. Rein ourselves in
during walks on gravel.
I think about where we could go,
soon, hopefully soon:
Rise in a cable car, sway on the spot, kiss,
the views resplendent on top of everything,
on a hill with a quiet
we never wear ourselves
until the weather grows too cold
for us to linger outdoors for long.
Kevin A. Risner is an Ohioan. He is author of Do Us a Favor (Variant Literature). Find him on Twitter @mr_december and Instagram @kevinarisner.