Venice, Unaccompanied

By Monica Youn Monica Youn
Waking
on the train, I thought   
we were attacked

            by light:   
chrome-winged birds   
hatching from the lagoon.

            That first day   
the buoys were all   
that made the harbor

            bearable:
pennies sewn into a hemline.   
Later I learned to live in it,

            to walk
through the alien city—
a beekeeper’s habit—

            with fierce light   
clinging to my head and hands.   
Treated as gently as every

            other guest—
each house’s barbed antennae   
trawling for any kind

            of weather—
still I sobbed in a glass box   
on an unswept street

            with the last
few lire ticking like fleas
off my phonecard I’m sorry

            I can’t
stand this, which
one of us do you love?

“Venice, Unaccompanied” copyright © 2003 by Monica Youn. From Barter, published by Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Source: Barter (Graywolf Press, 2003)

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Poet Monica Youn

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Living, Love, Separation & Divorce, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Break-ups & Vexed Love

Biography

Monica Youn is the author of Barter (Graywolf Press, 2003) and Ignatz (Four Way Books, 2010), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and the New York Times Magazine, and she has been awarded fellowships from the Library of Congress and Stanford University, among other awards. A former lawyer, she now teaches . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Living, Love, Separation & Divorce, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Break-ups & Vexed Love

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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