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After Catullus

Lisa Jarnot
         For Thomas

In the beginning 
there was grief,
a garden in the
center of a city
lit in rose and green, 
a quickening of the 
air across the wing 
of a plane upon the 
tip of the Labrador Sea
there was gleaming
there, a torque
not finished or forestalling
there was the promise of 
Paris's perpetual pomme 
pressed in gold,
there was only the hole 
in the heel of a sock,
the steam of a since in a
fore-flung damp hotel
there was nothing baked 
or boiled there was a stiffness, 
a whiteness, a heaviness of 
limbs and chips and silvered
peas, there was
this about it—a dipping
of the sun, a singular spoon,
a grid of hymns buried
under the finances of
a pickled cork, there 
was finally that sense of it,
pharmacies or chemists 
or high streets or the shape
of an ear of a baby asleep,
heavily there was that,
let me explain it again let it 
be turned by the heave
of a hundred craven wivers
of verse, let the pendulous
balls of finest quality lead
render it into what I think 
it is. Let me go back
to that garden in the 
center of that city
to know I who I loved.

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Jarnot. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Jarnot. Used with permission of the author.

Lisa Jarnot

by this poet

poem
and at noon I will fall in love 
and nothing will have meaning 
except for the brownness of 
the sky, and tradition, and water 
and in the water off the railway 
in New Haven all the lights 
go on across the sun, and for 
millennia those who kiss fall into 
hospitals, riding trains, wearing 
black shoes, pursued