Issue 160, Winter 2001
—like Venice, save
that the canals are scarlet, and decay
impossible, neither are the boats
subject co fatigue, neither are the boatmen
whose broad alae suggest great patience.
Its stone rises, immaculate, and new
construction will not impede adjacent
progress. If the bearing of those going on
about their work seems fixed, intent, it is
nonetheless benevolent. The air also
broods, scented, though not so as to cloy.
And rather than paling flesh, the light
extends to it a vivid carnality.
The city is nothing at all like Venice;
what made me think it was? Something-maybe
something atemporal in the pulse, or else
the cool painterly quality the eye
attains during its mute pause at the pier.
More likely, my confusion underscores
a blurred range of effects the body wakens,
under the initial blush of just such gravity
attended by an also unfamiliar readiness.