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Spring 2011

What the Classics Teach For thousands of years, they have searched fresh parchment or yellowed pages, human eyes bright with youth or bleary from too many nights reading by dim candle or lamplight, seeking answers to ancient questions: how to stab a man, how to die shouting, divide a community, collapse under the dark madness [...]

Burning Sappho “you burn me” ~ Sappho fr.38, trans. Anne Carson First, understand no one felt regret. This tenth Muse, whose limbs loosened at a touch, melting swift as tallow into tears, sang of slatterns and sluts, made love a city pimp, tricked out Psyche in cheapest rouge. She plucked hearts easily as lyre strings, [...]

Sophomore

Begin: today you are born, the universe is born, whatever that is is born and has its purpose. Flowers are born, sea life and mountain are born, the positions of the moon are born, the deer clumsy in the meadow is born— it is falling away from its mother, it tries to stand but struggles [...]

(after Lorine Niedecker) In the high weeds, I’d bite. Snap the little sticks, bash a nest in the dying grass. That would be me, bearing down among daisies and the branched broomrape. No pity for a babe mean as that—no way to hold her, no way to hold her back. There she’d go—all bad teeth [...]

If for days on end…

February. All night a storm raged like World War Three. Thunder and lightning rent the heavens. Wind shook the foundations and rain flooded the chutes. At first light, tankers, trawlers and freighters were still bouncing on harbour waters. Then, slowly, it subsided, shadows of cloud drifting over sea and earth. The clearance after a storm [...]

Red

Then, there was the next time, the last time, the one time when things became grand enough to unfurl all sense of belonging, a hearty red ribbon, carried behind, blowing in deep ripples, red, yes red, always red. What was red? She never knew, and never wanted to know about red—the red of roses or [...]

Paging Stevie Cavallero

My co-workers greeted me in the faculty lounge of the Las Vegas private school where I teach American literature with hugs and slaps on the back, as if I’d just finished a long, grueling race, a race I’d run with such speed, made up with such endurance and stamina, that I’d broken records. We stood [...]

Lullaby for Galatea

I never meant for you to wake up. What I wanted and prayed for was not what I meant to happen. Your friction-warmed surface, your curves my own hands carved and defined, your medium too rich and hard to be worn away in one man’s lifetime—I would never have given all this up, my love, [...]