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Repressed Theme
Barbara Cully

But most of all my knowing I would write to her,
after sleeping through hours of broadcasting,
us backlit by so much moonlight and the population
of the city immediately behind.

(Is it an idea to consider that the person
with whom one speaks less and less is the one
after all one came to see?)

The lightness I wake with—knowing self
as fruit; at bottom a pit unmarked
by sepulchral engravings—the ancient tombs at Tarquinia;
the body's weight in its perennial shift even as the sweetest
of savants rises upward in a tower of bells.

Is it our pet then, the hunchback who fondles
(even fucks) the gargoyle in the dream where
I wake to the pitch of your breaking voice?

Fragments, and only slender hope of offering
something more than obscure and less than obvious.
The instructions return cranked like a phonograph:

``Descend into the rooms of the ancient dead
who are by now non-existent against these lyrically
frescoed walls: a simple fish, a swallow, the horizontal
male figure suspended in the pastels of a pre-century century.

``Yes, open the tourist door to the armrail and stair,
a breath held 30 centuries exhumed in an era of nuclear silos
erect in a similar field. The absence of them, the absence
of their swords and lutes. A young girl's mirror surviving
like an accusation respecting you less and less for clinging
to a version wrought of things you cannot bear.''

The exact position of the woman you love seated
for centuries in someone's arms by the fire.
The noon peach so juicy you have to lean over, it's painful.
This specter that rises like a scarecrow making visible
the acre in which it stands.

Orchards by sex to flesh from stones. This
body extended like a thought long believing
nothing after all is lost, not even by comparison.

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