Night, the fetch of memories.
Absence. Light charades
across the harbour: stars rise,
fall... Venus steps towards
the shore, her footprints
a mosaic on the violet water.
Images, suddenly emergent
from Ravenna's walls-
have they now come for me?
Paolo watches how the warm
sea-breeze fans the tall
candelabra of the cypresses:
perhaps Francesca just can't
make it out tonight-
perhaps Gianciotto knows...
Strange, how his deformity
arouses pity ... (though
am I my brother's keeper?)
The full moon, rising, lays
its sword across the sea.
Voices, heard behind the wall.
Listen. Venus walks through
centuries towards us-
the cypress flames are still...
The chunter of the Vee-Dub
coming up the final hill
over-rides my thumping heart.
I never struck you.' I just burned
those poems I wrote for you, poking
at their foilations in the flames
until they fell apart. And there was
no salamander writhing in the fire
no phoenix rising from the dying ashes
into light. Just the consonants
crinkling in the grate, the vowels
released in one last sigh, my words
blazing in the throes of deconstruction
lost into the silence of the night
this ear deafened by a blow of fate.