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About this Poem 

"I was fascinated, reading Catullus translated by Peter Whigham, how he writes in several modes that are unpopular today: letters and maledictions in particular. And he calls everyone by name. So I wrote a letter to my uncle. I was also interested in seeing if I could write differently, and Catullus and I sure write differently. Like many of his, this poem is only one sentence."
Matthew Rohrer

After Catullus

Matthew Rohrer

If you, Tom, could see this inflight video map

of the world turning wildly on its axis

you would not, I think, be mad, though it is not

on paper, and that is what you do, but it is

a useful thing to see the earth twisted up like this;

it is our minds that are twisted, and you

are twisted too around a spoon, and drunk, I’m sure

by now, like me, past Newfoundland’s shore

with other peoples’ wine and dotted lines

to Bruxelles where I will only be

to switch planes, but you, I think, first went

there of all the other places you’ve been,

gobbling up the light as you went,

sending presents wrapped in maps.

Copyright © 2013 by Matthew Rohrer. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 7, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Matthew Rohrer. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 7, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Matthew Rohrer

Matthew Rohrer

The author of several collections of poetry, Matthrew Rohrer's book A Hummock in the Malookas was selected for the National Poetry Series

by this poet

poem
You called, you're on the train, on Sunday,
I have just taken a shower and await
you. Clouds are slipping in off the ocean,
but the room is gently lit by the green
shirt you gave me. I have been practicing
a new way to say hello and it is fantastic.
You were so sad: goodbye. I was so sad.
All the shops were
poem
I never believed in bioluminescence before. 
Here in Moravia where all daylight hides 
the only illumination is whiskey. 
Names seem unimportant. 
Large are the memories growing elsewhere 
beneath themselves. 
Do hemlocks burn when stared at? 
Darkness always retains something shapely. 
Those leaves engender me
poem
It was a basement with its own basement,
and in that basement were machines
and dusty weapons, the engines of the house;
where the floor gave way because of intense pressure
from below, and magma boiled up
through the wood-looking tiles;
where to leap to safety
broke my sister's foot;
where the animals that