After Catullus

         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.