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κάθαρσης


Dr. Clark ordered daisies
       for his patient’s grave. Easeful death,
   my ass, he might have muttered
               if he had been you or me.
Violets grow on Monte Testaccio, on the testae.
           You can see them from that corner

the Church reserves for the Acattolici.
       Across town, insolvent Severn
                scrapes the flowered paper off,
   weeping for our losses. Yes, pile
           the furniture and sheets in the piazza
      and torch it all.

                   When a workman begins to sing
a jaunty song, Severn throws down his scraper,
    hurries out to stand by the fire, by the fountain.
  He will live to see Italy united,
          his amiable mediocrity rewarded,
  artistic, diplomatic, altruistic. Tomorrow,
       he will surprise himself, yowling at Anna

           and smashing her crockery in ecstasy.
For now, he stands between the fountain and the flame,
   watching the bright tongues at work, thinking
        of Dr. Clark’s purgatives,
             of the cypresses across town
      between a displaced pyramid and a shattered empire,
          of Hector crackling on the plain of Troy.                

                                                       for Mason Bates


Ron Smith

Plume

Issue 8


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