Original Poem by Rick Linville
Edited by Reed O'Beirne
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From the little cloisters of smoke the heat-day arises.
She leans over delicately, with her little backpack, and looks at the men in the boat.
I was the nuovo Ucello.
We met in the little house of a retired couple like the characters of La Tour
meeting in total blankness, total darkness.
She cheated at cards.
She cheated at coquette.
When she called it was as "the last ballerina to appear on the radio".
Somewhat expensive, but our little joke.
The words, an illusion,
lasted just for a moment.
I would meet her at the Mermaid cafe, usually at seven.
There was a lot of drinking in those days.
Wines, dry, colorless, and soundless too.
Night after night they were right there inside me.
It is sad and regrettable to speak of them.
It was all that I knew.
Everything was contained in one bleary monotonous movement.
That small street where she lived.
Red Square, which she haunted.
After Allowing Satan a Job, later love became "what comes after."
She purified herself of everything. Even that.
Every night I would look down, attempt to remember.
If the shutters were boiling.
If the city was choked with long lines of trucks and cars.
"Buona sera! We've kept
your table for you.
It's for you we've been waiting!"
We sat at our table at the Mermaid and like so many people we attempted philosophy.
We were like grand engineers.
She went out for a cigarette and never came back. Her reproof.
A mortal blow she religiously mistook for certainty.
A face like the back of a forge.
She crossed the courtyard,
open-toed, in high-heeled shoes.
There are criteria for the lights growing dim.
The slenderness of a halo.
A small flame.
The image of a man, crushed, worn out.
The foreshadowing of an event long since coming as if it were already gone.
All around us the city kept building, heliphones, telecopters, computers.
Triclinium luna est.
A strange brightness
We were the last of our kind.
There are intervals in life which, unmarried to form and closer to our true selves, are in particular how we remember.
This is only this.