Buildings in a Lagoon

 

I.

 

now some water-level/ bricks wet all/ day the house stays

all wet—can you believe/ bodies/ these islands

           

—sometimes a gal/ a whistle a situation/ arises

some ink-fish/ you in/ jest/ some cracked

           

balustrades/ —found, of/ course I mean this wasn’t/ your doing

 

II.

 

in mist wisest/ Doge/ a Buranese, a suicide/-to-be-

in Bucintoro he has 37/ years meats/ and plates/ plates

           

below drapes/ line the piers: the cooks: all/ night sweating

of course the Doge picks the carrot/ cake cuts

           

a bite:/ “The moon/ shall be drained.”

                                                           

III.

 

a purple gondola/ rattling, a rattling/ a chain/ a dog,

compact/ stands/ on prow dry/ proud

           

the gondolier smokes/ silence, purple/ silence a local

steps, her balcony/ creaks over/ the water

           

—she calls/ a name a wave sustains

itself/ the length of the canal 

      

                                                                             (first appeared in Denver Quarterly, Volume 45, Number 3)