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Cure White: Reflections on Venice
by Hezekiah Allen Taylor

for Crispin

I want to spend days with you in Venice:
holding palm to palm,
walking,
talking and not talking---

there's so much music in silence sometimes---

kissing against an ancient, cobble-stoned wall
of pure romantic confection.

at least one full day
we must stay twisted together
in the sun-warmed sheets,
the heavy windows open
to let in the scented salt air.

**

this is not really me.

I'm the girl who loves Casablanca
for the dialogue, not for Paris.

I explored Rome once,
touching the heavy rock walls
where lions once devoured.
I easily walked past the red roses at Trevi.

it was so simple to push them off
with a look that says "I'll eat you, if you try that."

**

but then: you.
and now: well, shit.

**

here in Tulsa, it's 5:47 a.m.
and cold
and I cannot sleep.

so, I think about you.

I listen to the wind tumble down the fireplace,
whistling through the uncapped stones.

otherwise, it is quiet.
I should be meditating on the Buddha,
on the day ahead,
on just how to extract your essence
from its snuggled-down spot
inside every single atom of me.

I know better though.
you're fused---
ever since that nuclear reaction,
that bubbling nova,
that creation of a new sun

ever since I knew of you.

**

I watch the light from the stove hood.
I use it for a nightlight so I don't bang shins.

I am a practical girl,
outside of you.

the light splits in two
as it angles a corner---

first a light, shadowed triangle,
then a darker one.
the distinction so very separate at the beginning
but indistinguishable as the light moves off
into the darkness of the room.

**

they talk about the light in certain places:
the light in Paris,
the light in Rome,
the light in Venice.

I understand now.
that light---it's you.

**

I've been to Venice before,
alone.
I roamed the alleyways.
I walked the water.

yet, it never sat well on me---
the light too soft, too subtle.
I prefer a sharp, clean fit.

that romantic notion,
with its empty pockets
and old, frayed collar,

I easily discarded it.

I did not realize then---
though I realize it now---
that I was simply missing you.

Francine's Version -- Hezekiah's Version
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