From a distance, no one would know how this place has held itself together
all these years. A cathedral rises behind the canal, its spire stark
against an autumn blue sky. Window boxes jut from old stone walls;
you notice the pop of cadmium and violet as you walk up the cobblestones
for your daily bread. My father lives here in a house that has stood,
despite the seasonal floods, for centuries. At night, I check the sills
for spiders. In the next room, he is trying, unsuccessfully, to fall asleep.
Mornings, we sit in silence over espresso. Everything we tell each other
has stopped needing words. Instead, we hold hands on fraying placemats,
watch the mill wheel take one rotation after another, as if it will never stop turning.