Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio

Daniel Anderson

We strolled past purple cabbages, blood oranges, and plump, ruddy pears. No one was angry in my dream. Eggplants and yellow Tuscan peppers gleamed. We smiled tenderly, my friends and me, at perfect strangers who, also smiling, browsed with us down the long, long lanes of meat. We marveled over cream-white tripe, rib roasts, claw-footed chickens, and cuts of butchered pork. No one seemed to mind how, aisle by mesmerizing aisle, we took our time gazing. Gazing at crates of cherries, great necklaces of garlic, green onions, lemons, artichokes, mushrooms in tubs, and misted-over grapes. We were not frightened in my dream, and when we found ourselves inside a hall, a huge glass-ceilinged hall, where table after table was covered with lush bouquets of lilies and roses, dahlias and daffodils, we paused there and breathed deeply of that spring-scented humid air, then we returned to marvel even more at chests of ice (like diamonds! someone said) that brimmed with squid and herring, shrimps and lobsters and silver bass. Oh sure, I knew it was a dream. I also knew exactly where we were: in Florence, Italy in the Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio where we had gone together once, my friends and me. I even knew it wouldn’t last, that dream. No one was anxious or confused. Nobody seethed or stormed or clenched their jaws. I knew it wouldn’t last, but still, it felt a lot like happiness. It felt a lot like love.

Daniel Anderson’s most recent collection of poetry is The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel. He teaches on the faculty of the MFA program at the University of Oregon.