Upon reaching the palace of the Venetian Doge,
my father genuflected, the soft part of his hat
clasped under his arm, leaving my mother
alone to handle the pigeons and high season crowds.

To pass the time, she asked the vaporetti drivers
which part of the lagoon was deepest. She stayed
for hours at the boat depot, the delta
of four canals, culling opinion. When she felt
she’d heard enough, she paid one to ferry her there,

into the center of the estuary’s northern half, out past Murano
and Sant’Erasmo, past Luigi Nono’s
resting place, the glass museum, and the Lido
Sea Wall, to the latitude where Madonna del Monte
meets San Francesco del Deserto.

Here, she lingered, watching the islands sink lower,
or, if you prefer, the water rise.