An Italian in Denmark
He found work as part of the watch
A good place for a foreigner.
In the dark of the night
He can stand on the battlements
And scan the horizon for lights
Or movement.
There are many foreigners here among the ranks
Sometimes, when things are quiet and the wind whistles by them as they change posts
They nod at one another and can smell the cooking of their mothers
Miles and miles away.
Mostly they stand. Stoic and firm.
All eyes, all ears
Hands clasped around a weapon
Holding it steady
Waiting and watching
Just receiving.
Barnardo? How will you know him?
By the tomato skin under his fingernails?
By the click of his accent?
By the smell of his musty doublet?
By the shift of the air around him in the darkness?
He is here to relieve you.
You rarely speak
His footsteps sound different
You listen – taking each sound apart
Is that his gait?
It couldn’t be –

Stand and unfold yourself.

Stand and unfold yourself.

Arm over arm, leg under leg
Like a bit of human origami.
The cold of the world
Has creased the edges.
I am triangle fold
Square fold
Bend bend bend
until I am another shape entirely
unrecognizable to those that knew me long ago.
Even if I do unfold myself
even if I reveal
what is tucked between the flaps of paper
what has been bent into diamonds
curved into arches
If I stand, tall – each corner to corner
The lines of my bending will remain.
I am scarred with my adaptations
Fold me into something new
And you will see the ghost of the version,
Each evolution exposing the shapes before.