A chic trenchcoat cinched at her thick waist, our city guide steers us through St. Peter’s immensity. We are a small tight flock. We shuffle after Albertina pointing the way with her umbrella, raised and unopened, through the Basilica’s half-light. Through a school of Buddhist monks, saffron robes flashing like koi. Through scent of candle wax and centuries, of Carrara sunshine clinging to marble. She guides us past the pallid agony of the Pietà to the writhing muscular columns of the baldacchino, created by this miniscule nation’s genius builder. Bare–knee–knee, she makes us repeat after her. Bare–knee–knee. Pausing beneath a pale Teresa, orgasmic with pain or love, Albertina grasps one of my husband’s glossy black curls, stretches it taut in her overripe fingers:
I needed no translation
from this Delilah.