VENICE :: midnight

Have you ever heard utter silence?
No-
not complete silence.
The dripping of water into a canal
like drops sliding through an hourglass
counting down towards loneliness,
the clatter of wheels on ancient cobblestones
is the only sound against the darkness.

A glimmer of light ahead!
A lone streetlight
shining vainly at a corner-
we squint up at the street sign in the dimness
half-faded, peeling,
unfamiliar.
We peer into the alleyway-it’s barely
wide enough for one,
the uneven brickwork brushing our shoulders,
the darkness consumes us.

Have you ever seen utter darkness?
Save for the moon,
A mere disc high above,
The world was cast in shadow.
A flicker-
there, the corner-
no, it was nothing.
Just water lapping at the canal.
Behind!
A door slams,
a stray cat darts from behind a statue.
The eerie half-light blurs the surroundings
and gargoyles jump out from behind shadows.

Have you ever been utterly lost?
Caught like a spider in a web,
spinning a thousand different directions but
everywhere is a dead end.
Streets wind back and forth,
squares spin into each other
A terrifying maze of bricks and stones and
darkness.

[Written 23/7/16. I hesitated in putting this one up because it’s not the typical description of the City of Water. It describes my experience when arriving in Venice at midnight. It took my friends and I 2 hours to find our accommodation and by then we had walked across half the city. It’s a giant maze and it’s completely deserted.]

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