“We’ve gone past that same gondola stand three times.” I’m certain because against the brick are the same two unused poles that match the black prison stripes on the gondoliers’ sweaty t-shirts. Tourism petrified by the pandemic; the service people of Venice stiffen.
“Our stand is that way, I’m sure of it.”
Vapors from a half-full vaporetto cough against the current, swirling pollution in reverse before the water bus bounces against the loading barge. Without cruise ships to raise profits and tides, Venice sinks less this year into the Adriatic Sea.
When we stop below a banner with a cruise ship crossed-out to ask for directions, a Venetian tells us, “The grand canal is a question mark, and crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end,” leaving us to navigate the labyrinth of waterways and worries on our own.
© khartless 2021, All Rights Reserved
“Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.”
–from Jo Harjo’s “A Map to the Next World.”
Merril is tonight’s host for dVerse’ Prosery. The task: write a piece of flash fiction or other prose of up to or exactly 144 words, including the given line.