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A Poem by Wesley Rothman

by Wesley Rothman
January 18th, 2019

Narcissus

Another battle burns beyond the glen.
I hear their grunting, shield-glare, & dying.
Pray they don’t set the forest to crackle.
Pray for just a little while longer, here
By the sleek pool. Loop us together,
The water’s surface & me, smooth, rippling
Only for my breath. This Elysium,
This liquid plane, silent in my silence,
Company to my voice, nimble & shaped
To curves of the night sky, this will be my
Rest. This will be my rest. Who’s there? Who’s there?
No one but us, quiet glass. Keep my stare,
Let me swim into you & remain.
All you have conquered—beasts of the glen,
Coastal kingdoms, continents, the whole
Of civilization, me—with your one tongue,
Muscle, & focus. You, there on the water,
Govern the stars, the wars scorching farther
Across the map. You dictate time, rhythms
Of obliteration, eruptions, floods.
How long have I lain here by your side,
You, cast like a net over the surface,
Me, a sentinel stationed at the border?
A sentinel stationed at the border?
Who speaks?—Who could speak beside this image?
The colonel, the pawn, oracle, & blade.
How does the stopping of breath sound? Has it
An echo? The warriors in the distance
Could answer. So too could every body
You’ve conquered. Every body you’ve conquered.
There must ring a voice beyond the glen.
But the nymph stopped her own breath—
You stopped her own breath. You of focus
& force, you velvet conqueror, keeper
Of last breaths. Kiss me before I plash you
From the surface, fall in & pull you below.

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