Spring 1998 • Vol. XX No. 2 Poetry |

Lilacs

Let's say for that time I was an instrument forbidding music. That spring no thief of fire. I tapped from the source a self sick of love, and then beyond sickness, an invalid of my loathing. Yes, loathing put me to bed each night and burned my dreams, in the morning woke me with strong coffee. And this was loathing's greeting-- Get up. Drink. All this in spite of the lilacs returning, their odor the odor of life everlasting, another year, another season onward, another spring. But they bloomed of a sudden pale in unison like lifeboats rowing into dawn, the passengers gone mad in their exhaustion in the open, even the wives, even the mothers rescued for their children, their lives, believe me, not their own. Boats full of lilacs drifting thus, each grayish bush against my gray house. But theirs is a short season, a few weeks, rarely more. And I was glad to be rid of them, Rid of a thing that could touch in me what might be called "mercy". See how one's lips must kiss to make the m, t

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