by Laurel Benjamin
A pink cloth hangs in this church, body and blood of Christ—
some like the priest, shocked at bleeding after prayers.
Pilgrims come to Signorelli’s The Last Judgement
in this town built hundreds of feet on tufa rock
where cats idle on cobblestones
and ceramics are sold.
We’ve come to view Etruscan ruins
museums where black pots have orange lines,
where caves with dove cotes are found underground ,
to enjoy pasta with truffles, along with grilled vegetables
and a town wine. Weekdays we walk past the Il Gelato sign,
past street art, wood carving of a giant horse,
and on weekends through the church parking lot
where the Fiat 500 Club sets up.
The parade has started, moving past the cars
altar boys in white robes and red shawls
supporting a tapestry depicting the miracle
Jesus on the cross.
We categorize miracles, this one eucharistic
host bleeding, bread and wine becoming body
but how do we categorize wishing for a miracle—
once people asked for rain to fall, rain to cease,
and I’ve asked for a cancer cure, or lost in the wilderness
for rescuers to appear.
This town, perched at the end of a long steep road
for tourists, demands a train station and
the funincular, no miracle but a conveyance.
I would settle for an every day miracle
in the wake of Christ, so close to us,
town aglow at the end of the day, roof tiles
and buildings an orange rose not easily dismissed.