The Problem With Sappho
Only one complete poem remains. The rest of it is berries left in the bramble after a visit from midday starlings. For years I couldn't understand how this redaction moved anyone to tears. She was a dampness in the matchbook. But the world is patient. Eventually the diamond travels from the mantle to the finger of the woman you love. Eventually the light from an exploded star arrives to confirm the emperor's power. It's clear now that a very old bruise can tell us how hard someone was punched. The detective solves a murder by the help of a single hair. Archeologists find a molar and build a face to fit.
Copyright © 2017 Charles Rafferty. “The Problem with Sappho” originally appeared in The Smoke of Horses (BOA Editions, 2017). Reprinted with permission by the author.