Florence, 1993

It was the night after the car bombing of the Uffizi.
The city was a vandalized painting of itself.
I walked the via Inferno, to via Purgatorio,
And saw a prostitute on a street corner
Pointing the way to paradise. I saw
A collapsed bridge in a burning river.
Every sculpture was writhing with animal pain,
Every tomb thrown open, every masterpiece blackened.

My shadow led me like a spirit guide
Amid the howls of lamentation;
The street was river of boiling blood.
Then I saw a light and a passageway.
Above the doors of an old church I read:
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.