After Catullus

After Catullus

After Catullus

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Feb. 11 1999 3:30 AM

After Catullus

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A penknife engraved first your name, then his, then a heart
around them with a wedded plus, then an X across it all--
the drawn out chronicle of your last uncontested crush
still knuckling over twenty years later in the backyard
of your parents' house. For as I learned this evening,
it was your crossed heart that broke, not his, and so made
romance into something fleshed, impregnable, and almost
shameless once those first taboos took a backseat to
the round chord your plucked body struck: that overjoy

you've rung so many times by now you've grown unsure
of what it was you wanted then, before the dream had wearied
of itself, and sex stood through you like an ampersand. And so,
tonight, as you rise from your canopied childhood bed, I watch
you watch those leafy shadows worry across the windowsill,
and feel for a moment the presence of that lost thing out there
in the lull of a late rain dying out, in the moon transfusing
through the breathed-on pane. And I relive it again,
those thousand kisses you set upon the lips of other men.