Mitty in Rome


By Juilene Osborne-McKnight

Grand Prize Bronze winner of the Twelfth Annual Solas Awards


They have cleaned the fountain in the Piazza of Santa Maria in Trastevere. This means that it no longer works. Water spills over the basin and down the sides.

On the lone dry step, the King of the Gypsies has taken his throne. He is young – well, younger than me, which qualifies enough of the world these days. He wears a patchwork coat of many colors and a pair of old pajama pants. He carries a tall staff whose top is adorned with feathery rags in profuse colors. Some days I see him begging; in early mornings on my way to work I have seen him asleep in doorways. But I have also seen men kneel before him and buss both of his cheeks.