Blue Gondola

Blue Gondola

Snow. I've never seen it, and it's hard to imagine
Such a pour of crystal, like sand or salt they say, but cold;
Colder than the flavored ices in Piazza San Bartolo,
Colder than the wind that sweeps the winter sea.

The sea: now that's a concept we Venetians can get close to,
Like the upstairs neighbor, like your own face in the glass.
We get accustomed to her comings and her goings,
And her little sulks and even, Dio, even to her rage.

We walk on wood when she leaks over us,
We never talk of Atlantis, not among the natives,
And when I pole out from the shadows into the Grand Canal,
Like a tide the joy will rise and inundate my eyes.

But sometimes when it's late, too late for tourists,
When the concertina's quiet and the moon has gone,
I stand in my gondola and I listen,
Listen to the water and I think of snow.

Blue Gondola by Judy Schilling

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