Charles Auguste Mengin, Sappho, 1877
Ransacked to the waist, hounded under gales
Of black hair, eyes burdened with longing,
You are left behind, the lyre in your hand
Fretted with cords of the sea.
And so close to nakedness. The muslin shawl
That falls below your breasts stops at your shy feet
But cannot hide your darkening loins
Or tallow thighs within.
You stand as in a fabric of smoke and are revealed
Here on this dark coast. Its dusk—a pale line cut
Between gray-sea gray-sky—fills with the flights
Of a few brown gulls.
What anodyne, then, can other words make
For you, dejected so perfectly, pouting like a wolf?
At your side, the boulder on which you drape your arm
Attends: muscular, protean.
Like no lover, it crouches to be told another time
The name of every bride who has passed
And every groom. They are the ones, tonight,
You are watching.
Andrew Miller is a poet, critic and translator with over eighty publications to his name. His poems have appeared in such journals as The Massachussett’s Review, Iron Horse, Shenandoah, Spoon River Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Laurel Review, Hunger Mountain, Rattle, New Orleans Review, and Ekphrasis. In addition, he has had poems appear in such anthologies as How Much Earth, Anthology of Fresno Poets (2001) and The Way We Work: Contemporary Literature from the Workplace (2008). Finally, he is one of the co-editors of The Gazer Within, The Selected Prose of Larry Levis (2001) and the author of Poetry, Photography Ekphrasis: Lyrical Representations of Photography from the 19th Century to the Present (Liverpool University Press, 2015). Presently, Miller resides Copenhagen Denmark with this wife and daughters.
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