Caught in a Love That’s a Lie

This meeting annihilated for a moment all the years between the present time and the days [gone by]. It was a new & inexplicable feeling like rising from the grave to me. [F]or I could feel his heart beat to the fingers’ ends—unless indeed—it was the pulse of my own which made me think so.


This is the jackal’s portion,
unburied corpses, if we
talk about it we keep it
alive, this death is not the


life I’ve had in mind, tonight
I might decide to revive
what yesterday we both un-
clothed, flesh the two of us once


supposed would thrive on breath be-
neath cold soil, even if un-
lit, the warmth of imagined
light thrived in the minds where ad-


miration died, complement
of indecisiveness to
this apotheosis those
opposed to it slow, once coiled


springs wait in embrace below
frozen earth before surface
brings them closer than we were
then, two shadows wintering


bleak as black coffee splattered
onto cold ivory, an
irony of patterns no
one bothers to find matters


when their meanings confront them,
not always very softly
or obviously but so
savagely, epitaphic


eruptions, utterances
ambiguity’s insid-
ious riddle destroys, hidden
inside when swallowed, how pride


denies only after its
necromancy’s art arrives,
this want of mine to make ours
that kind others realize


is a desire not just us,
but victims of silence’s
crime, atone for whenever
caught in a love that’s a lie.

1Lord Byron, in one of his journals, on meeting unexpectedly in adulthood and while exiled abroad Lord Clare, a former schoolmate and dear childhood friend with whom he shared a lasting, secret mutual affection, “[Article] 113. Pisa, Novr. 5th. 1821” in Detached Thoughts, 15th October 1821–18th May 1822, holograph manuscript NLS Acc. 12604 / 4057, folio 149 at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, printed in ‘In the wind’s eye’: Byron’s Letters and Journals: Edited by Leslie A. Marchand: Volume 9: 1821–1822, published at Cambridge, Massachusetts by Harvard University Press in 1979; page 49.