Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • In the streets, along the sidewalks, in doorways, everywhere, the young, the old, all of them lean in, stand close to each another, very close, too close. The New Englander has nowhere to hold a slice of personal space.

    Even the cafés slant to the streets, spill out onto the squares. And there they sit together—never alone—in groups of two three four five six, little dogs at their feet, on the sunny side, drinking caffé or brilliant orange or red cocktails. And they talk. And they talk. And they talk. The New Englander cannot fathom what they talk about all day, all night.

    The children run about shouting and playing, playing and shouting. For hours and hours. No one is in a hurry. This is the only place that matters. The only time. The only people. The few tourists? Who?

    The children are beautiful. They wear shirts splashed with silly English words and get away with it. The men are beautiful. They wear over-the-top chic sunglasses and get away with it. The women are beautiful. They wear electric blue coats and get away with it.

    Their hands wave about, making music with the air.

    It’s the stuff of dreamy magazine ads. Of movies. No joke. No matter what the New Englander might suspect.

    From far away, it sounds like buzzing. Hear the talk. The talk. The talk.
    The shouting. The laughter. The laughter. The laughter. The talk.

    Music is not required, but often drifts from around a corner, out a window, through the accordion on the street. Really.

    Bedazzled, overwhelmed, the New Englander has no words for this. She is silent, still, unremarkable—speaking in signs with her eyes, singing strange melodies with her heart as she swims into this sound, her head moving to this gesture, this color, this people.

    (Photo taken in Trieste; audio recorded in Padova, Italia)
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.