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Although elsewhere they must compete with tall men

from Senegal selling faux Gucchi bags

and middle aged Roma women hunched like

supplicants as they beg with their cardboard cups,

short, slight Bangladeshi men of all ages

have cornered the market, on the always

crowded bridge, with selfie sticks, lovers’ locks

that illegally litter the rails, and a cache

of small umbrellas for wet, cruising tourists.


South is the church of La Salute with its

whorls, bell towers, domes – a votive offering

for the city’s surviving pestilence.

North is Ca’ Rezzonico where Browning wrote

In A Gondola – ‘The moth’s kiss, first!…

The bee’s kiss, now!’ A young couple stands

at the top where the locks are bunched tightest.

She has finger puppets – two mice, hers and his,

enjoying the view. He smiles lovingly.

She turns them to face each other – and speaks.

‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.’




© Copyright David Selzer

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