Lilacs Again

Promise—the second oldest memory
they stir. I can’t remember
the first. Packaged
in a top 40 radio hit perhaps.

Am I the only one
who still listens to the radio?
Anyone out there?
When I get the second shot in two days

and have waited two weeks,
anyone out there then?
All those heart-to-hearts
with the younger self.

The wardrobe rotated again as if
it matters. At some point, this left-hand
ink smear will become the most valuable
NFT you never invested in.

It’s not a competition,
songs and scents
both release the most sweet
bitter whorls, bundles of them.

Sappho knew lilacs
are in the olive family.
Just one more final and the death
of a high school friend

till you can board another
rocking ferry
for the next Greek island,
you tell yourself.

nothing rocks like it used to


over and over

what got erased from those love letters

to a life lived so hard

I kept them

all of them

I never questioned that

“unmanageable creature who steals in”

the way everyone advised

“like a mountain wind falling on oak trees”

and then

“for we in our youth

did these things

yes many and beautiful things”

she says

“lyre lyre lyre”

say it three times

because how else

will the “transparent dress” follow

and I won’t ask

for more

about the “gold anklebone cups”

I won’t I won’t I won’t

Note: Thank you, Sappho, for those fragments I stole. And thank you, Anne Carson, for bringing them to light in If Not, Winter.

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