The whole city floats beneath our feet.
Arched bridges hold it together, we say,
lulled into dreams and into each other’s arms,
window open to soft lapping.
And at dawn a dove coos, two eggs
loose on the bare windowsill.
We arrived by air in Rome, then the train
on rails over wooden posts driven into sand.
A safer journey than our own conceptions,
that wild ride inside our mothers until
we entered her warm sea. Now the sun flashes
from the bay, as from a thousand broken
mirrors as we walk, a shimmering that blurs sight,
as when at birth we closed our eyes against
the glare and cried out, our lungs lifting.
And yet, the weight, the way we breathed
against our mother’s breast, held in her arms.
The way Peter, sinking, stepped back into the boat.
Somebody had felled a tree, sawed
and bent the boards, sealed them with pitch.
Somebody rowed him to shore.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.