Ponte dei Sospiri

In a small siding of The Doge’s Palace,
away from the heavy oil paintings, leakage
of audioguide headphones and babel of tourists
pecking for historic titbits or cooing over gilt,
Guariento’s fresco shines in its paleness.
Even his half-faces have worn with the curve of haloes.
Though golds have drained to brown, harp strings
thinned, musician fingers faded to bones,
still the angels play, still Christ crowns his mother—
a ghostly Virgin on her Gothic throne. And still now,
two small unembellished windows play out this light
and dark in shapes cast upon walls and floor—
those same shadows that battle on blinds and drapes
in every room, creeping through cracks to hide
with apples and bottled water weighting our backpacks,
as we follow the stone echo of footsteps
down the skyless staircase towards the Bridge of Sighs.

About the author

Sarah James has been landlocked in the UK’s Midlands, confined to flights of imagination. However, she reports she's been bitten by the travel bug…

Read the full bio

Issue 16 · October 2012

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