To my dear Venice, from a lonely suburban town,
My bones are bare ivory, decorated with pastel paints
and freshly painted shingles like an old lady’s dentures.
My intestines are winding roads, half-paved gravel, tire marks
scraping up the chiseled green grass like alien marks–
but no one believes in aliens here.
My muscles are public schools with bowling alley gyms, coffee shops
where the milky lattes are more water than zest,
flat sidewalks, dusty chalk, dull blue skies.
My skin is prim, buffed until all the callouses have chipped away,
gilded like my eyes, my straight locks, my button-nose.
But, my dear, there is a loneliness in polite. A void among the dyed roots.
A core like a dilapidated creature, made of polished metal, with a coating
of rust that lies beneath it all.
But you – you’re an ethereal being.
Skin like ancient stones, carved with Roman secrets in code,
waterways, arches, locks that seal love from long ago.
Your muscles are the Italian Romance, the way
Shakespeare’s Verona sounds on the tongue,
the light of the stars glistening on gentle waves,
open windows, stray dogs, sparklers thrown into the abysmal sky
like a flare shot into the night.
Your intestines are the meandering footsteps, the music,
possessions floating through your roads, lost to the world, finding
a new home somewhere across the city. There’s a magic in the air,
and no one can deny it, no one can deny the way you glisten,
an alien sent to teach us earthlings what it feels like to be alive.
And your bones. Your bones are the people,
the ones who spin gelato, who say nocciola in the right way,
the builders of St. Mark’s Clock and the Bridge of Tears.
They listen to the hum of the air, the movement of dancers
with toes off the edge of a gondola, the stripes of shirts and
the shimmering jewels on a mask. They understand
what it means to be ethereal. They understand what it means
to let your grass grow uneven, to let your hair fall in loose curls, to let your skin
toughen up with bruises and cuts. Your soul, my dear, is a vision.
I’d like to visit you one day.
Forever yours, a lonely suburban town,