Venice, Acqua Alta
During acqua alta, residents take the floods in stride.
Across the world, I click through photographs while my son naps:
a postman in pea-green, thigh-high boots wades door-to-door;
a quintet of men sets a half-submerged table
with linens, china, crystal, bread, cheese, wine;
a young man wakeboards across the Piazza San Marco.
I see that last one and think, just wait, that will be my son!
Twin helix of panic and pride, at two years old
he is the clamor of a foreign city rising out of a susurrant tide;
a gondolier singing, not steering, no regard to what I ask,
he is all carvings, corridors, canals.
During rainstorms, he stands in the yard, arms open, soaking wet,
happy. He never hears me call him in.
The last time I slept I dreamt of sinking, of water spilling
over the edge of a bathtub. Now I think I must write
an open letter to the Venetian State, to the well-provisioned,
the jovial, and the unafraid, and ask what makes them sure
the city they love will not sink, no matter what waters come.