Venice, for Averill Curdy
You shiver with the ague of all tourists who
back home, look to you like Breathing Art.
the fool from her lire with candycolored glass,
parades its idiosyncrasies, and though
yours is a fin-de-siecle American ego
relying on a photograph to gauge
if it's "been there," try to disembark
Now it is snowing without sticking, the invisible
but colder. A starling flock, disrupted,
negative of snow; emphatic, demanding,
or the whitest pearl.
Beat your wings to leave your signature,
What are you hiding from, in a body of snow?
A touch and it melts on your finger.
Because this is not your element, even if
faster now, faster, till all the field is white.
V. Penelope Pelizzon is the author of a collection of poems, Nostos (Ohio University Press, 2000), which was selected for the Hollis Summers Prize and subsequently received the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award. Pelizzon has published criticism on literature, photography, and film. Her essay "Native Carnivals: Philip Larkin's Puppet Theatre of Ritual" is included in New Larkins for Old (St. Martin's Press, 1999), while her reviews of photography appear periodically in The British Journal of Aesthetics.