A poem’s requested. If ever I dallied in
the shade with you, toying with songs that will live
this year and thereafter, come, play a Roman
                    lyric, my lyre.

Ten days apart and bile moves
     the searing dart of ink to
     prick the sea as you did me,
     thinking it not the same thing
     as a drink, this taking of
     one as you had me, ten days
     ago you were the ruler
     over my house and now I
     am without one as I burn
     my home like a haughtiness
     of unholy books, or a

scribe’s scroll of ancient wisdom
     never unfurled, older and
     waiting ocean-side for it,
     for calamity’s chains to
     drop, to fall from me into
     the deeps, and reveal to you
     the nakedness of my heart’s
     intentions laid bare here, a
     Libra liberated, I
     am cursed to wait here, my hair
     of flaming fire’s folly as

I dally in the deep shade,
     making of writing a strict
     ritual, a secret act,
     of composition a night’s
     sacrifice, immolating
     my Self on the pyre of my
     desire for you, thirsting for
     your return, for its day’s great
     breaking, as the forest floor
     hungers for the dawn to fill
     all of its holes with light’s tongues.

1Horace, Odes, “Book One: I.32”, [Lines 1–4], in The Odes and Epodes of Horace: A Modern English Verse Translation by Joseph P. Clancy, published at Chicago by The University of Chicago Press in 1960; page 64.