Issue 14
Marco Polo Writes in His Journal
Marco Polo Writes in His Journal, by Nora Sturges

“Nearing the end or not—I cannot say—
I’m grateful for the calm: ‘port in a storm,’
I might have said if traveling by sea,
and storms were forecast. Grateful for the breeze

I still can feel, new leaves under a sun
nearing its end or not (I cannot say),
that shade this cafe table I secured
by walking up without a reservation.

Maybe I’m famous here? A tired waiter—
rotund, genderless—rescues my water
from the kitchen’s limbo, while the square’s
scrubbed slate and stone abound with duplicates—

yes, hers, or his, cast in assorted roles:
garrulous bore, street-sweeper, walker of dogs,
phantasms of past or future who cannot stray,
uni-browed, gruff: alternatives, alter egos,

or harmless siblings? No one walks alone,
these dozen doubles prove, except myself.
And when I call to mind those I’ve cast off,
(not always honorably, it’s fair to say),

I feel the end’s near, whether I go or stay.”