Homeboy in Venice
Early in the morning, before the tourists are awake.
You have been here a week now, long enough
to feel a part of this strange city by the sea,
to feel its rhythm from dawn till dusk and beyond.
The cafe is almost empty, the way you like it.
You could live here. In all your travels,
no place has felt as much like home as Venice.
You cannot explain it. It makes no sense.
It is not like any place you have seen.
The language is foreign. Their ways,
the light, the shops and even time itself
are strange to you. And yet
from the moment you first walked the narrow streets
and crossed canals from ducal square to the ghetto,
you felt, strangely, at peace.
Your life has been a settled thing.
Twenty years here. A decade and more there.
Family history and the history of place intertwine.
Roots run deep.
Yet it is not those towns and countryside you mourn.
those places of history and roots. It is this place.
What was meant to be a passing-through place,
a place to drop your suitcase for a few days,
somehow became home.
About this poem.
I was going to write of something else, when this picture, taken years ago, came across my computer screen. Suddenly I felt homesick.
I can’t explain it. But I can write about it.