They arrive by the sackload from the main office on the Via del Pontiere,
Pouring from the bags as if a torrential weeping,
The envelopes a collage of shapes, a multiplicity of pastel hues,
Some addressed with all the formality of a judicial summons,
Others bearing no more than the name of the distaff half
Of the city’s most famous equation.
They tread upon paths long since worn by any number of their predecessors:
Tales of love unrequited, passion misspent, promises untruthful and unmet.
These epistles and their authors seek solace of varying degree and efficacy:
Some seek kernels of actual guidance or blessing,
As if some ancient and inscrutable advice columnist
Had taken up residence in the Basilica di San Zeno,
Others looking to self-heal through the catharsis of the act of writing,
Most content to quietly assert to the universe itself
I am here, I am here, I am here.
Where, then, is the corresponding mountain of missives
For the son of the House of Montague?
Surely, his shade would be as kindred a soul
To those which affairs of the heart have left so disheartened,
(Indeed, more so, as our hero is much more
The schemer and dreamer of the dramatis personae in question.)
For him, though, no truck with the lemon-cheerful Posteitaliane markings
Arrives at an office for secretaries to answer and archive its all-but-holy contents;
More likely, there is some humble cart,
(The wheel bearings frozen up, the canvas mildewed and frayed)
Containing a handful of birthday cards intended for some Renzo or Romano
Miswritten by some absentminded grandmother or great-aunt,
The odd solicitation or final-notice
Which shall go no further for all of eternity.
Despite the hectoring tone of the envelope
Stressing that the material is critically time-sensitive
And intended for the eyes of the addressee only.