As evening lifted off the canals
and sounds we couldn’t see through,
muffled as a vaporetto moving through water
hung over our plates, over the soaked bread
and the meat from the kitchen,
over the red tile roofs
of this small fish restaurant

like an awning suspended,
we knew they were too magnificent
for husbandry— these three women
whose men were paying them absolute attention.
Clothed in linens as though
suited in pearls or glazes of eggshells
or chalk, they were smoking in voices