‘Le farfalle’ by Captain B

Le farfalle

Le farfalle
Were thousands
Tens of thousands?
Winking and charming
The blue and sunny skies
With their fluttering dance

Scared from the branches
By the rustling behind them
Leaves detached to take flight
I sat in the boat, oars at the ready
I wondered why i was there
A bit more than a tinge of fear assaulting
Not knowing in the least
What might emerge

Just as i was thinking flight too
From the thick foliage
Emerged Uncle James and Uncle Beto
So relieved yet even more so delighted
I hadn’t seen them for some time
Uncle James carried all the gear-
Fishing rods and tackle, tents, chairs and camping whatnot
Uncle Beto wheeled a cooler
He responded to my inquiring eyes by lifting the lid
Tucked in a corner were herbs and cutlery
I eyed the wine bottles poking out of the ice
Prosecco, naturally, he said, fa caldo oggi
Indeed it was quite warm
Something i usually remedy with cold beer
But when with a Roman…

I never deigned to drink white in my youth, Uncle James admitted
Displaying a grin not without missing teeth
A notorious red wine proponent
But it helps with my diabetes, he said, lighting a cigarette
Not piedmontese, but it’ll do, Zio Beto assured

I stowed all the gear and helped them aboard
Neither of them small men nor i
The boat sank a little lower in the water
As they got comfortable
Uncle James’ milky white sparrow of a left eye
Saw far and further ahead, resembling more than ever a crystal ball
A fortunate day to be had by all
It revealed

You know the drill, Uncle James cautioned, miming zipped lips
Sebenne che tutti i fiumi vanno al mare, Uncle Beto said. Ma prima a monte
As i rowed hard upstream, keeping my mouth shut
Uncle James paused in his discourse on story
To nod and say, good good, i got strong rowing my Swedish mother around
Wearing a simple t-shirt as always, he flexed a healthy bicep as proof

He and Uncle Beto went on and on about symbols, poetry, the classics
Until we reached our fishing spot
Uncle James fly fished
As we tried to imitate
Uncle Beto got it quickly
I struggled until he told me to will it through the mind
You’re dreaming aren’t you?

Later under stars, warming by a fire
Not sure which bottle we were on
And still licking our fingers from the plentiful and grilled trout
Uncle Beto handed both Uncle James and me one of his smallish cigars
He knew we both had been admiring
I lit us all up
And the two resumed their discussion on literature
I reclined in my chair yet remained attentive
Absorbing it all

Uncle James went on about choosing the path at age fourteen
High on Keats, Rimbaud, Rilke, Dostoevsky among others
He vowed to write every day and had done as much
With exceptions being sickness or travel
Yeah, yeah, Uncle Beto responded
Going on again how he always had
About letting a story develop without a rush or deadlines
Looking me square, he looked out and over his lenses
Remember, he said pointedly, rem tene verba sequentur

I nodded- yes, Maestro
I then saw it was time for another bottle
I plunged my hand in the cold pool of icy water
Noodling for a catfish might have produced better results
Just about to announce the dire news

All three of us looked up to see the three-quarter moon
Clouded by a swarm of bats taking flight and fleeing
Just before hearing the rustling that had roused them
And a great-horned owl silently descended to perch
On just one of the vacant branches

From the dark forest emerged Tio Jorge Luis
Longer passed than the other two
Slung under one arm a case of top-shelf Malbec
Clutched like a football (American) under the other
A nice sized cut of cuadril
He handed me the cut
Which i knew instinctively to slice into thick steaks
He said, pero espera
And looked me square in the eyes with his two milky white sparrows
To love it is to add and contribute to it, La Gran Biblioteca
Word count does not matter
But once lost in the labyrinth
Does one ever really want out?

The night continued and so did we


Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro

Captain B illustration by Raddy