Alma and Florentino

Venice, Italy, 2011.

Venice, Italy, 2011.


A thousand days might pass
but each time he saw her
would be just like the first;
a thousand conversations,
with each beginning anew,
uncovering familiar awe;
a thousand embraces,
each closing of beings
ceaselessly creates chaos.

She was his Alma
in the history of love;
and he, her Florentino
in love in a time of cholera.
Of the milestones of his life,
her appearance had begun
a lifelong pursuit henceforth –
a mystery he would thus spend
the rest of his life deciphering.

She thought she knew by heart
the alphabet and all its words
till he showed her all of which
the 26 could never encapsulate;
he had never been colourblind,
or so he thought. But were he not,
how could he explain the light
that burst in novel variegation,
cast on all he saw since they met?

Patience is a virtue, they say.
It must be true; how else could they
bear the unbearable each day.

– Agnes Chew


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