by JC Reilly
In Venice, the rain begs you to write its own poem, though something about the way it falls here hinders you. Not drops at all, but insidious and slinky slippage, like imaginary serpents of water. It coils around my hand and wiles my pen into writing about something else entirely—candy or an aquarium or memory. (The rain will appear in those poems, but only incidentally.) Even now, as a few desultory tourists shamble and splash through the mostly empty Campo Santo Stefano, under umbrellas too deboli to divert the showers, a poem about the rain begins to slither out of reach. My attention shifts five thousand miles to the west, to you, to downpours more symbolic. I mourn our amore tormentato, begin to write of passions doused, ruminate how la tempesta between us never quite dries up, though sometimes conflict dwindles to a lace-fine mist. Mist. A water word, la nebbia. Venice should have a thousand words for water. For a moment, I am centered: back in this ancient city, I focus again on the afternoon’s deluge, feel the slinking wetness in my hair and shoes, notice the way it sneaks down the sides of my sweet martini melograna, even under the heavy awnings at Le Café Venezia. Across the square, the rain glitters on old masonry under clouds so low they seem to ruffle the tops of the buildings like collars. On the ground, the rain moves in sinuous turns instead of collecting in puddles. But the words before me reflect none of this, saturated as they are with regret. The Veneziani call these storms temporali, because after a time, they blow out. But ours will not blow out. The rain has snaked its way into our lives for good.
JC Reilly writes across genres to keep things interesting. What Magick May Not Alter, her Southern Gothic novel-in-verse, came out this spring from Madville Publishing. When she’s not writing or serving as the Managing Editor of Atlanta Review, she plays tennis, crochets, or practices her Italian. Follow her @Aishatonu on Twitter or follow her cats @jc.reilly on Instagram.