There Was That

This canal wasn’t grand but that
didn’t stop you from photographing it
for this was Venice, this was Italy,
Europe, your first time, your honeymoon,
a freight of meaningfulness, like a
swing set burdened with birds in Hitchcock,
a red rain slicker sliding away
from Donald Sutherland, minus the great
sex scene with Julie Christie. Call it
Don’t Touch Now, another harbinger
although it was muggy August and touch seemed
an endless promise easy to forget (you will).
At dawn they’ll deliver the fish to the Locanda Montin
not delicately, Italian sounding guttural
like the boat motor’s chop in the canal.
Now you know the gondoliers only sing
if you pay them and they’ll resent it,
your desire for them to be Vegas or extras
on the RKO Deco set in Top Hat.
Despite all this what wasn’t lovely,
wasn’t hope, wasn’t a kiss that suggested
a sloppier second, wasn’t everything sunk
into the sea where even Venice will end up
if much more slowly, grandly remembered
than a first marriage gone to mirage.

George Yatchisin is the communications coordinator for the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara. His poems have appeared in numerous publications including Alimentum, Antioch Review, Boston Review, Spitball, and Quarterly West. As a journalist he’s written about everything from food to music.
*Photo courtesy of MorBCN.
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