SAYING YES | Donna Kirstein’s poem slips through memory and place.
by Donna Kirstein
It is February.
From up here in your apartment, Brighton pier glows against the dark, as if she alone is reaching out. Waiting, knowing she will one day break free from the coast, carried off towards a full February moon. The kitchen smells sweet, it smells of your favourite fruit tea. Much much later I turn towards a scent passing me in the street; wonder whether it was you or your perfume or the sweetness of some red berry shampoo; or if the taste of strawberry tea lingers on their tongue too.
But now, before you step forward, it seems as if the world is holding its breath.
It is March.
One night, stepping out over the bridge and into your world, we go for a meal at a Michelin restaurant overlooking the canal. Beyond the tungsten lamps and flickering candles, the moon floats: a fishhook hanging low in the dark, snagged in a knot of clouds. The gondolas roll against their dock. You are at home here, an island of calm in a silk blouse, surrounded by a sea of white linen and murmuring silverwear. The splash of a fish startles me. I taste the tender flesh of octopus for the first time. Unexpectedly salted. Soft. It reminds me of you. Afterwards, walking through San Marco, we stop outside a café with a string quartet. And as night deepens into black, you grab my hand and start dancing in a pool of lamplight.
It is April.
On the second night, when the tides turn and darkness fills the canals, shadows slowly rise across the surface of this city. We drink in the briny air, the stink of fresh fish, pass lobsters with quivering whiskers waiting in the windows, listen to the soft chatter that spills from the restaurants, splashing against the pauses in our breath.
We run through a series of streets on a Sunday. Slipping in and out of shadows and sunshine. Bare brick walls and narrow windows frame the sky, but all I know is the softness of your hand in mine as we step over bridges, searching for a moment, a quiet street to stop: to feel the stone walls pressed against our skin. Is that too much to ask?
Donna is an poet, author and graphic designer, and the author of Borderlands.