by Elizabeth Hermesch
I remember an elderly man with a pin striped shirt,
who whistled as he rowed along.
Sitting on the smooth, mahogany bench
my four friends, boyfriend, and I watched the coral green water
swish the side of the gondola.
We had a grand, old time
singing love songs and waving to those on land.
I remember walking down a rocky dirt road,
with old city ruins echoing the deaths of the town.
The houses were missing walls, furnishings gone.
The town had once been destroyed by a volcanic eruption.
During the night, the black and red, flaming lava
seeped through the small city.
I walked through the ruins in utter dismay,
and thought of all the families that once had been.
Petrified bodies were out on display.
And that was my venture in Pompei.
I remember walking down a dark and narrow alleyway in Venice,
and hearing a woman's glass-shattering voice.
I've never been fond of opera
But I felt stuck in quicksand,
with nowhere to go.
I was memorized by the enchanting melody
that drifted my way.
The group I was with sluggishly walked around,
listening to this woman's chorus.
I saw a girl with a tear streaming down her face.
We walked away,
with the music lulling in the background.
But most of all, I remember a gloomy, rainy day,
where the sun was hidden by clouds,
and people ran for shelter.
As I approached a tan colored building,
I couldn't help but feel the tightening of my heart.
Decades ago, a young girl had once lived here,
with a heart as big as a giant
and dreams that would soon vanish.
As I ventured inside, I could smell the dust-ridden atmosphere.
It was warm inside, but I felt a chill run up my spine.
Standing before me was the ancient bookcase and hidden door,
that I had come to see....
::My trip to Europe in 2004::