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Absinthe


O sacré bleu
Those were some crazy temps
Poets walking pet lobsters on leashes
and everybody drinking away
les heures bleues as if
there would always be more of them
Always another trickle of gaslight
to spill

Here is a thread
of spun lightning and here
a grass green cloud abloom
in a glass Yes they had elements
then Trams aglide beneath
their cables and absinthe
tipple so bitter it was délicieux
like dark memory or gnarled
heart

And now of course
almost none of it remains
Mesdames Monsieurs Don't
need a poet to tell you that
When was the last time you heard
the merry click of claws
on a city sidewalk? I stumbled
on an arc of old track embedded
in the street, a forgotten
rib

As for absinthe,
they outlawed it years ago.
Seems after two, or four, or twelve,
a man would lose his head.
Only l'heure bleue, that hour
dusk leaks over the rooftops, the sole
survivor


Elizabeth Gold

The Gettysburg Review

Summer 2010


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