Submitted Date 05/21/2019

Sleeping Under A Boat
Hitchhiking through southern France and northern Italy
Age 21, Somewhere in Northern Italy, 1965

-- This is one poem, in an autobiographical series of poems, I posted here at WriteSpike. Go to my stories section for others. They are in chronological order. --

Having nowhere to sleep
we ended up underneath
an overturned fisherman's boat
on some beach in northern Italy

cold and tired we fit together
in our clothes
and although we kissed
it was really our exhaustion
that held us

it was two days later
in Naples that the trouble started
when we took our clothes off
and something between us was gone

not lovers and no longer friends
you were clinging to me
and mocking me at the same time
and I could not desert you

later when you followed me to Paris
then ran off to London
with the only set of keys to a borrowed apartment
I wished we'd never met

and yet that first two days together
hitchhiking through the south of France
I still remember moment by moment:
the one-armed driver
who passed cars while lighting a cigarette,
the Germans who almost totaled their car,
the hot sand and blue of the Mediterranean at Cannes,
the man who delighted in driving us slowly
through Monaco at sunset

and then the morning
after we slept on the beach
when the fishermen were angry at first
that we had used their boat for shelter
but delighted when we showed them
how to body surf
so they fed us a breakfast
of espresso and sweet Italian pastries

I have savored this for 40 years
and that was worth all of your turmoil

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