Rome by Vivian DeRosa

2018 Waltham Forest Poetry Competition: second place in Young Poets prize


the tour guide kept endearments in
her pockets and slathered
them on whatever she could touch.
honey, she said, the romans weren’t nearly
as tall as you and me.
sitting under the arched roof
by the fountain that was built so long
ago the stone has eroded like a crumbling
cake, eating parmigiano with honey,
wondering about the kids I’ll have,
if I’ll call them honey. my sticky hands
and the ginham summer dress from last year,
already too tight – we outgrow ourselves –
don’t bother me the way the pigeons bother
the passerby. these are just the inches,
the slight ticks on the wall as we grow tall enough
to see our parents shrink
and modest enough to look
and see our children.


Vivian Parkin DeRosa is a poet, writer, blogger, and an intern for Project Write Now. Her work has been recognized on the national level by the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards and has appeared in the Huffington Post, Poets Reading the News, Body Without Organs, the Blue Marble review, and other literary magazines. Currently, she is writing her second novel and applying to college. She finds both tasks to be equally daunting. When not working on plots or supplemental essays, she enjoys knitting, reading, and watching competitive cooking shows. She can be found at


My inspiration for this poem came from a family trip to Italy. Rome was layered, ancient relics under slightly less ancient relics under almost modern buildings. Each generation had made changes. I knew that my family was originally from Italy. Since then, some things changed (women can wear pants now) while others stayed the same (I eat pasta on a weekly basis.) But being in Rome made me think of the future instead of the past. What changes will my children bring? I have no way of knowing the future, but I have I feeling it will be bright.