Venice Unshuttered

Long ago, I was asked if I could live
during any age
which would it be? Renaissance
sprung to mind, but I was young.
Imagine, a cloistered Renaissance woman
looking at the world through a window,
while the world viewed her,
as if in a painting, framed.

Yesterday, while taking a vaporetto
to a museum, I photoed
a woman, at her window
looking quaint―
unshuttered but still
planted, leaning toward sunlight.

It’s morning; I fling open the shutters: see past
terra-cotta rooftops
like neatly whelmed-over plant pots,
and a windowsill planter where thyme flowers.
Laundry sways on a line;
my braid sways, too―long enough
for a ledge mouse to climb.

Beneath my third-story window
people stream across
a tiny bridge
where murmur blends with burble.
An oarsman dips and pulls
against the current―his wooden boat glides
between brick walls,
then disappears under the bridge,
ferrying today’s bread.

Water divides the city the bridges connect:
to my left, a fruit stand
in front of a small bookstore;
part of the city I haven’t explored yet, to my right.

If I walk farther than the eye can see,
I’ll find more
water-stained buildings with pointy arched windows
~ and their watery reflections ~
some housing portraits of women,
framed by windows, their hair bejeweled―
not undone by the wind like mine has become.
I’ll scoff at rabid tourism,
yet everywhere stalls of scarves
will beckon me to choose.

I look down at the stream of people, and fancy
I’m like none of them,
though soon I’m one of them, crossing
another small bridge.

Laura Glenn