DECLINE AND FALL
Once, there were no panhandlers in La
Serenissma. Now there are four beggars –
men from Dalmatia, the old colonies,
and a Roma woman with no past.
Near the Rialto, two alternate
on the same pitch: heads sunk, hands out, their stories
in English on cardboard. The third plays
an accordion near the Accademia,
his history on plywood at his feet.
Only the woman, dark-eyed, distressed, who sits