I buzzed my head in Italy. In Venice.
In Love. With myself. With him.
With narrow passage ways
I found myself
Getting lost in.
Ce pizza e ce pizza
Five euro pies every night, con funghi
It was in Flamino, Elena, Zeno, and Yemen’s
The First Time.
I stood with dull scissors
The equivalent of a woman’s tweezers
But used, I think, to trim a man’s beard.
Alone, in Lago di Como, la famiglia en Verona
Out my window I see
The lake, the duomo, inside the Center’s walls.
I take a photo.
My silk Oriental robe I let drop,
In the mirror, my underwear, the tub,
Coarse curls, tendrils graze my breasts.
Eyes I’ve seen—
I start to cut.
The dullness rough, but down,
Down my hair felt
A bible placed next to my head in Milano,
By a friend who mended the crotch of my favorite pants.
The Second Time was with her. Two weeks later.
She took me to apertivo, and fed me comida e vino.
She took me to a market and introduced me to Antonio—
The Italian Beautiful.
His hair was longer than Godiva’s, curlier—
more textured than mine.
He sold us material for cheap.
My friend’s friend—her friend, was from Hong Kong.
Her name is Amira.
Amira spoke English, Italian, and Mandarin.
Her Italian was called English.
My Italian was called made-up.
We sat—or I sat—on a balcony overlooking a barbershop.
She stood—or tiptoed—dancing quietly around my head—
Only I didn’t hear—snip
But saw hair
Around the cat that batted at it
Near the men who had a shop for this sort of thing.
Full, coarse curls rested on my shoulders.
Shorter she went.
I said. Okay.
To McDonalds for water,
An underwear intimates, intimissimi store.
To the Museum of Natural History…
Of precious stones, dinosaur bones, and bugs I don’t remember.
The Third Time
The (real) Time, The finale—
Was with him.
And him, his name, I will use past tense for.
En Venezia. On the vaporetti—night—salt water splashing—
He told me, Bella—you should.
And it happened.
In his kitchen. With a bottle of liquor. With scissors.
With a man’s machine that went zzzoom.
With two friends. With him.
And with me.
My friend in Milano, from The Second Time,
Not Amira from Hong Kong but the first friend—her best friend.
The friend who saved my pants,
Who had placed the bible,
Who sewed pieces of fabric to create a jacket from the material
Antonio Bello sold us.
She shaved her head
One year ago.
She was from America.
From a family unlike her.
In Milano, when I stayed with Darcle, Nicola, and their son, Cesare—
I thought it was fate—or an omen
That my favorite sandals were made by a man who probably didn’t make them.
But his name was Cesare too.
Nicola worked at a pool—
It was mandatory to wear a swimming cap to enter the water.
Long hair got trapped and caught in gutters,
Long hair got ruined
From the chemicals they put in there.
I would lay studying Italian so I could say,
Ciao, Nicola, Grazie mille per…
letting me stay in your home.
He spoke no English
But tried to tell me while drinking in his cucina con Birra Moretti
And eating Cesare’s favorite food, peanuts—
About life, language, and living
(all) through his hands.
That was good.
(That was neat)
And at his pool
Everyone paled in comparison to
Her head—had no cap—
Like a boy
Like something So—
In an airport one year ago
One year later,
My hair wet,
I pull it straight,
Reaches my chin.
Stubs, tendrils, a soon-to-be great