She lived on the island of Burano, off Venice, in the Adriatic Sea. Hers was one in rows of small, bright houses that grew up along the banks of canals like sturdy flowers. There were no cars on the island, no modern ways of life. We loved it, you and I. We loved sitting at the outdoor café in front of her house. Her doorway stood open, dusty drapes providing a small privacy. We would see the curtains part now and then, an old woman peeking out. We smiled, she didn’t, but there was curiosity in her look. The day was hot and bright and finally she stepped out, broom in hand. For quite awhile she swept the stoop, the dirt road and path in front of her house. I wanted to paint her, in her long black dress, tattered broom in her hands, geraniums bright in the window behind her. Once in awhile, peering shyly at us, a secretive smile would light her wrinkled face. It felt as if she knew things about us we didn’t. How we loved each other, but not enough. How the life we were living wasn’t enough. How very soon our life together would be irretrievably swept away.
some days it’s enough
only the good hours
—Sharon Auberle, Sister Bay, WI