I had dreamed of walking through the cobbled back streets of Naples; I had imagined myself a stout peasant, living above those streets, hanging laundry on a line strung to a neighbor’s window ledge across the way. My thick upper arms were pendulous, if strong, and bulged slightly on either side of a gouging bra-strap that fell below the shoulder edge of a sleeveless cotton blouse. Sweat clasped the blouse to the crease between heavy breasts; to the sides of a solid torso; and occasionally to the back: here and there, now and then, as I reached, and pegged, and lowered the weight of my arms again.
I am not the stout and work-worn phantom of an ancient fantasy, but those streets, apprehended, are precise in their echo of that dream. Cobbled, dignified, themselves ancient. The preternatural light of Italy is captured between high, close buildings, reflected and refracted light upon golden light. And the end of the street stretches before me, as all space does, into history – becoming at its vanishing point that first light of a child’s fantasy exploding into existence, creating Italy, Naples, cobbled streets themselves, but for the future – impossibly distant; implausibly identical; categorically, stoutly, precisely to have come to be.