December in Florence

(Joseph Brodsky, 1976. translated by author)

“He has not returned to his old Florence,
even after having died . . . ”
Anna Akhmatova

I

The doors take in air, exhale steam; you, however, won’t
be back to the shallowed Arno where, like a new kind
of quadruped, idle couples follow the river bend.
Doors bang, beasts hit the slabs. Indeed,
the atmosphere of this city retains a bit
of the dark forest. It
is a beautiful city where at certain age
one simply raises the collar to disengage
from passing humans and dulls the gaze.

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