from Conversations in Sicily by Elio Vittorini

Then, as I was waiting, I saw a kite come up over the valley, and I followed it with my eyes as it passed above me into the sunlight high overhead, and I asked myself why, after all, the world was not A Thousand and One Nights, the way it was when I was seven. I heard bagpipes, the goats’ bells, and voices carrying across the slope of roofs and the valley, and I asked myself this question many times over as I watched the kite in the air. We call them flying dragons in Sicily, as somehow they embody China or Persia in the Sicilian sky, with their sapphire and opal colors and their geometry, and watching it I couldn’t help but ask myself why, really, the faith one has at seven doesn’t last forever.

of heaven

he suggests a small tree
some potted plants
things alive and green
growing on the terrace
a way he says
to give the illusion
of life beyond glass
windows and doors
a gas grill
to barbecue chicken fish corn
some lawn chairs
a table too
an awning for the rain
he says sort of like
stepping into a backyard
to find family friends
beer bottles wine coolers
raised in cheer
a vision
more or less he says
of heaven