In Venice, memory is as flawed as architecting a city on top of a lagoon. There are no hydraulic systems in place to reclaim sinking recollections from brackish recesses, as there are for keeping this ancient city from being lost entirely to flood every spring. The mind itself tends towards marshland in its pensive state, the way the lagoon would revert to the marsh if gli ingegneri hadn’t built the machines to draw sediments from the channel floors to shore up disappearing land masses elsewhere. A Sisyphian task. Here, to remember my love for you seems somehow as Sisyphian; I am losing you just as surely as the canal levels rise with these two days of rain. I cannot dredge your details. You become indistinct, as shifting as colors behind rain-dappled fenestre, as impermanent as reflections in pozzanghere along the Fondamenta Zattere ai Gesuati. Soon, I cannot bring you to mind at all. There is nothing but water and water. As I stare out across the Laguna Veneta at the Giudecca from my terrace table in the Ristorante Terrazza del Casin dei Nobili, I muse what it must have been like in 2008, when the city saw its worst floods in twenty years. L’acqua alta almost six feet higher than normal. Veneziani swimming in Piazza San Marco. Gondolas floating on what would be the sidewalks. This restaurant under water, part of the lagoon. In 2008, I was as under water in love with you. I should have known better than to build il nostro futuro on that.
JC Reilly writes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, and sometimes all in the same piece. She has work published or forthcoming from Grub Street Literary Magazine, South Carolina Review, American Journal of Poetry, Poetry South, MoonPark Review, and others. When she isn't writing, JC works on improving her Italian or playing tennis. Follow her @aishatonu.