Murano, 1998—Off to the side, boats bob in a row
along the canal: red, blue, yellow and here is a boy
his head resting against the rail of steps that lead
down to the boats. You focus on him, is there
a bird floating by, some fish swirling like leaves
just beneath the surface? His sweater matches
the color of the boats, his face closer to the green
of the canal.

Beside him at a table littered with empty cappuccino cups
a man leans back, his animated daughter on his lap.
She is five, her hands blur in the photo, birds in flight
as she swings her braids and tells a story. The man
is laughing, his sunglasses catch twin suns as the girl
watches the camera pointed her way.

Nearly in shadow, the one with the camera focuses
on the scene: canal, late sun, the man, the girl and
the boy—fever already burning through his small frame—
while she takes the picture, calculates the time
for the ride back to the mainland, the long night ahead
away from home.

About the author

ME Hope travels the state of Oregon in an economy car-cum-kayak; most of the right side of the state is dry but over the…

Read the full bio

Issue 02 · December 2008

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