Today's poem is by Mark Halperin


Across the bridge, the garbage swollen stream
that marked the former city wall, we seemed
steered to a small square where Petrarch stood
in bronze, larger than life. Padua could

surprise you like that, and stun you. Past two
a.m., unable to sleep, I padded to
the window, made out the stream, then a swan's
white plumage, gliding down and back again.

What was it doing there? Was I awake?
I still see the taut curve of its neck
caught by the raw brightness of the bridge lights,
aglow, floating in the stillness of the night.

Copyright © 2002 Mark Halperin All rights reserved
from Quarterly West
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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