Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Three Nights in Venice

By Miguel Paolo Celestial

The people clear the piazza
as the drizzle breaks into steady rain.
Huddled into the ferry
I watch the waves heave, turn
with the approaching shadows of dusk.

Earlier I was at the cathedral
gazing at an immense relief of Byzantine saints,
their garments encrusted with jewels.
The gems gleamed as if newly unearthed
blunt with a light faint
and floundering in the darkness.

The wind passes by me as I return to the hotel
the rain still drizzling
the buildings on the street stoop damp and reticent.

The lampshade soothes the light in the room
but the silence laid like a weight on pillows
and twisted tight under sheets simmers.
There is a tremor buried in the breathing.

After lunch we brought back soup
from a restaurant down the street.
My father was propped up on the bed
and slowly, as I picture my mother raise the spoon
my head sinks into the pillow.
I return through the ripples of the bright emerald canals
to a few days before: a hotel room in Florence,
raised voices, and a diamond ring flung.

Yesterday I came from the island of Murano.
Standing in front of the furnace I felt the heat
flush to my cheeks as the molten glass
emerged from the kiln.
From the glowing mass
the limbs of a horse were plied,
braced at mid-gallop.
Hewn by the light
the glass danced with the hint of jewels.

Its flanks were tensed with the sound of crashing hooves.

Published in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, 2003

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