Ca’Venezia: Your Voice

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Your voice alights on my armhair,
a whiff of cigar smoke—
caramel, and ghostly—
“Cities die; let them.”
Black thing to say.
I patter around it as you
swell. Graces and fits filled Her
once, leaning trailing wisps
filtering down waning streets.
“What would your Venice look like?”

The Via has never been so desperate
as when first I conjured your face
from the gloom of the bridge,
filling the air above these cobbles
with silhouettes, hiding me from us and
quelling my mooning.
I don’t have the taste for it,
but you blind your ears
and with encompassing hands, offer up.
Not the Adriatic can know, this,
it is a song, it is a simple melody.

They watch us, Wagner and his enemy,
bound in the embrace of the garden
where we neck on Sant’Elena.

But “Cities die; let them” rings in my dark-struck-ness
as your arm, lean with want,
wraps around me and we lean in
for one more chord.

Walk me home.
Take me home.
and after?
The Via feels as desperate as ever
beneath pilgrim feet
and to my moonstruck eyes, while
“Cities die; let them” clouds my thoughts
as you descend
into the conjurations
of my fantasy.


The featured image, ‘Sanctum’, was used with permission of artist, Robert Alan, a mixed media artist from New York City.  

Robert Eric Shoemaker

Robert Eric Shoemaker is a poet, playwright, and journalist in Chicago. His work is published with the Chicago After Dark Anthology and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. For more info, visit

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