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  You could have a big dipper   

In Tampa by Kevin A. Risner

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.

Right here,

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.

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