Vincenza’s Vespa – A Poem
a poem by Simon Camilleri 7/4/08
Vincenza’s fuel efficient, two-wheeled, sleek and stylish Vespa
zooms around the city ducking and weaving between trams and traffic jams
parking wherever it wants and flying away without leaving a trace
A black buzzing beauty
But the girl sitting on her brown leather back is not named Vincenza.
Vincenza was my grandma
She left us money that she had stored in her house over decades.
As a secret hope might be stored away in one’s heart,
this money grew and grew
but was never used to fulfil its intended dream.
In the end it had to be cleaned from the mouse poo and dust that had built up around it
and finally it was distributed to all the grandchildren.
It came with a solemn warning
This is a gift from Vincenza
Carry with it her dreams
and Vincenza’s gift was placed in an account that could not be touched
There it was stored, as a dream of happiness might be stored away in a lover’s heart,
and there it grew.
Vincenza’s gift was safe and secure
whilst the world outside fell to pieces.
The lover’s separated
and after seven months, the girl insisted on taking her share
She had a right, she said
And all at once Vincenza’s gift became something that was mine and hers
Something that should be split in half
to maintain consistency with the state of our hearts.
Vincenza and her dreams were forgotten
and her gift was broken in two.
The money, for that is all it was now, was quickly spent
To pay back debts and deal with financial insecurities
and also to buy a shiny new Vespa.
Now a year and a half has passed
And the Vespa still buzzes around the city
An occasionally painful reminder to me of Vincenza’s gift,
and her unfulfilled dreams,
and that broken solemn warning
and it all stinks
as the mouse poo and dust begins to build once more
For the girl never steers that Vespa in the direction of Vincenza’s son and his wife
Who still live and breath and love her like a daughter
Or Vincenza’s grandson
Who still tries to keep safe that dream of happiness
that was once stored away in a lover’s heart
And though she was there when Vincenza’s spirit breathed its last
And though she was there when Vincenza’s body was laid to rest in the ground
She doesn’t even steer that Vespa in the direction of Vincenza’s graveside
To at least say thank you for the ride.