We drink Chianti, eat raw
steak on a street named
for Cecco Angiolieri—ribald
high-born poet who wrote
offensive sonnets with
elaborate rhyme schemes.

Cecco lost games of chance,
paid fines for his belligerence,
fought with and against Dante,
sopped his sauce with saltless
bread, mocked courtly love,
il dolce stil nuovo.

If I were fire, he wrote,
I’d burn the world. Blood
oozes on our plates. We tried
to order it well-done.
The waiter scoffed, ma non
si fa cosi a Siena.

Hilary Sideris has recently published poems in The American Journal of Poetry, Bellevue Literary Review, Free State Review, Gravel, The Lake, Main Street Rag, Rhino, Salamander, and Southern Poetry Review. She is the author of Most Likely to Die (Poets Wear Prada 2014), The Inclination to Make Waves (Big Wonderful 2016), Un Amore Veloce (Kelsay 2019) and The Silent B (Dos Madres 2019).

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