Sparkling emerald waters
Dance gracefully, side to side,
In a slow and soothing sway
That carries us past the city’s wisest members.
Aging stone families,
Who have witnessed waltzes of many turning tides
And many types of explorers inside
Their grand canals.
He hums, Giuseppe the gondolieri,
To the wave of water
And I run my fingers along the polished finish
Of this exquisite barge of cherry wood,
Carved with frolicking angels and rows of roses
That govern my red velvet seat.
“Guardate,” he says as he breaks his song
And points the happy oar above our heads,
“ecco il Ponte dei Sospiri.”
He chuckles and says in his very best English,
“The Bridge of Sighs.”
Hazy rays of grace strike the limestone masterpiece
In just the right way,
Lighting the shadowy ripples of the water.
“And there,” he says, nodding his head across the way,
To a young couple in a black gondola
“It’s buona fortuna to kiss when you pass the Ponte,
You stay in love forever.”
We fall under its dark shadow and
I crane my neck for a final goodbye.
I still wonder,
Was it the sun overpowering my naked eyes
Or did I really see the antique silhouettes
Of Ponte’s lovers passed?
Lingering apparitions, donning robes of ancient times,
Smiling at the serenades of canal abiding drifters.
The slow and soothing sway
Returns the cherry barge round the watermarked bend,
Brushing up against the rotting, wooden dock,
Where the cold foam tickles my toes
And new voyagers take our place.
“Come again,” Giuseppe waves,
“And we take another trip
To visit Signor Ponte!”