by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

Once you were the jewel
in the Crown of Italy—
now oil-slicked canals,
ruined lagoons,
faded frescoes,
flooded piazzas
are your only claim to fame.

Cruise ship companies
deny the blame…
the higher tides
the hoards of tourists
bombarding your intricate labyrinth
of rabbit-warren narrow streets,
your domed basilicas and shops.

No one is guarding
this historical monument—
the destruction must stop.

Once you were the jewel
in the Crown of Italy
a glorious city in the Adriatic Sea,
with your palace-walled lagoons,
masqued balls and gondoliers who sang
to lovers beneath a silver moon.

Soon all this shall be no more
than a gypsy's restless dream.


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