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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 2, June 2014

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Matthew Paul
Isleworth, Middlesex, England


Umberto at Large

The twilit hooded crow always calling in his head, his coat collar turned up against the north-east wind that renders his complexion a spat-out olive stone, Umberto frog marches himself towards the sea-front, where a Roman statue's battered torso’s beached. At breakfast in his Mitteleuropa, Art Nouveau hotel, he regards his fellow guests: black, satin, shoulderless jumpsuit for her; check shirt worn outside navy linen shorts for him; eyebrows either sculpted to death or as bushy as Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane; the papers they read (Süddeutsche Zeitung; International Herald Tribune); their white plates molehilled with buffet selections—rolled-up ham, eraser-sized blocks of Emmental, apple-filled croissants, rye bread smudged by pallid butter and faux-English apricot jam; all washed down with Turkish coffee or Lipton’s tea and glasses of flat Prosecco. As Umberto turns his gaze to the black-and-white photos laid out before him, his thoughts dilly-dally towards the old gelateria across the road, where high summer—un cono piccolo di lampone—awaits.

a scent of bay
lovers squabble over
who should poop-scoop

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