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Parthenon Marbles

Why do we fail our spouses when we can remember their sweetness
when we were young. Time still ran slowly for us,
weather was never an impediment—money, even.
Who needed to be right, who needed sleep
or words, last words floating in thick clarity, concentration,
two coffee beans in a glass of anise, skiffs on an expensive lake,
pair of black ducks in Zurich June's chill waves, our languor
as the swan beat its feet across the surface, running
on water for twenty, thirty meters straining, its awful body
changing, elongating, almost ascending—
now the evening like this instrument slowly going dry.
The fountain pen, the light, the minds inside your skull and his.
Love survives like those sublime reliefs whose torsos live,
more or less, in the British Museum.
Master, maiden, warrior, even the cow stretching
to smell earth before its sacrifice:
in which private collection or lofty public hall
could we find the heads, the hearts, that once were ours.

Kathleen Winter


Issue 85

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