Click here to listen to Maureen N. McLane read this poem.
Sad in bed you read Horace the ode in which an aging lover pleads not to be inflamed again by a perishable love
and a tear escapes his eye
and a tear escaped your eye.
I was wild for you and heedless
I am glad love to say this
I was afflicted and afflicted you.
Be careful what you wish for
you warned. I was not careful
nor in the end thank god were you.
The charms I recited
the songs I sang
were lit by a light
almost completely impersonal.
Yet what are we but vehicles
of waves we never directly perceive
except those days the light bending
around our bodies becomes our body
—the lovers ablaze on the pyre