‘The Venetian Man’, Venice, Italy
by Debbi Nelson

The morning light was coming up over the Scalzi Bridge, “the bridge of barefoot monks.”  Once crossed, the beautiful city of Venice was all around me.  The colors, the light, the water lapping around boats and the feel of cobblestones under my feet convinced me that I had never seen anything so extraordinary before that moment.  That is, until I walked several feet and saw a man with a somewhat hunched back walking not too far ahead of me.  He had a cane slung over his back and a Jackie Coogan cap on his head.  His skin was a weathered mahogany and his eyes were piercing.  His blazer was linty and his shoes a little scruffy. He didn’t “fit” with the rest of us walking toward St, Mark’s.  He was unusual, almost like a time traveler from an old Hemingway novel.  I didn’t speak his language but we communicated.  He was gracious and allowed me to capture him in a square on his Venetian street.

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