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Walking on water, i.e., in the streets of Venice,
I read its history in churches—Gothic,
Baroque and Neoclassical, one marble
glory after another,

sometimes hearing the whisper of dead Catullus
reminding me that the sun that sets tonight
will rise again, but when my light has set
there will be no other.

And he is so convincing, I feel a deathly
chill from the dank canals, and all the beauty
around me seems the beauty of ancient graveyards
with new graves waiting

until I pass St Mark’s, a honeycomb church
of gold mosaics rising crowded as heaven
with rows of saints chanting that Christ is risen,
the grave invading.

—Gail White

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