Junked hypodermics made it hard to walk
along the Tiber by the deserted, grand
sandstone embankment of the temple block.
In the river, itself the color of umber mud under sand,
two navy frogmen hugged us for a block.
The bubbles from their air tanks pocked
the water. Twin snorkels rose to slice
the sleazy surface. An inflated life boat
weighed down by officers in summer whites
was making progressively tighter figure 8’s,
drawing in nets with water bottle floats.
A cardinal streaked by in a chauffeured launch,
pudgy fingers folded fiat against his paunch.
His backwash brought the frogmen to a boil.