Napoleon’s Death Mask
When his Roman nose ceased to fog the shaving mirror, so
too paled the smell of the lavender water, which Dr. Antom-
marchi splashed on himself like a whore. Then all that light,
the golden onion domes, only to fall face first from a rearing
“Taurus” hobbled by General Mud. But it was wet plaster,
which captured his lips frozen in victory over the last spoon-
ful of beef, British broth—and that look of peace, which sold
well by subscription, which even a monster wears at the end.
Mine will be cast without such fine detail, not the button
nose, the mouth breathing underneath the poor memory
foam of a pillow as it blots out the Law & Order rerun that
burns in a retreat, ever further away from me to her side of
James Reidel has published poems in many journals as well as Jim’s Book (Black Lawrence Press 2014) and My Window Seat for Arlena Twigg (Black Lawrence 2006). His most recent work appears in Poetry, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Hawai’i Review, Outsider, Fiction Southwest, The Flexible Persona, and elsewhere—including The Best Small Fictions 2016. He is also the biographer of the poet Weldon Kees and a translator, whose latest books include The Collected Poems of Thomas Bernhard (2017); A Skeleton Play Violin (2017), book three of his Our Trakl series; and a new edition of The Forty Days of Musa Dagh by Franz Werfel to be published by Penquin in early 2018. In 2013, he was a James Merrill House fellow. He is currently writing a collection of prose poems.
The Ekphrastic Review
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