Pompeii & Castellamare di Stabia, Karen Stewart

Thursday, Jun 21, 2018

Karen Stewart

Karen Stewart

It feels unearthly to stand where they stood,

to see over the walls that once held roofs

And protected families from wind and rain.

To casually weave through the homes of an entire lost civilization

Can leave one feeling melancholy.

It can leave one feeling undeniably, inconceivably human.


It makes it nice to step away.

To have the privilege to file back onto a cramped bus and

Watch it all disappear behind you.

I imagine as I prop my legs up and count the minutes

That Vesuvius starts smoking as we ride away,

A distant, two thousand year old memory.  

Tick, Tick, boom.


As I stand on the steps of La Panoramica,

I watch the sun slip away behind the mountains

And I drink in the gentle orange light,

Feeling like an imposter that won the lottery.

I want to swim, or climb, or walk and just keep walking.

I want to open my chest for the evening to climb inside.


By the time we have finished dinner

The sun has run away

And the lights of the city below are calmer,

More subdued,

And somehow friendlier,

Like they want to be looked at.


There’s something about the air in Italy.

You don’t breathe it because you have to,

You breathe it because you want it.

-Karen Stewart, Junior