Winter 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2004 |

Ghost Watch

The blood pooled in the fresh fosse and up they drifted out of Erebus like smoke from every side in a listless swarming all around Odysseus, crowding, pressing, merging together, a cloud bank of souls that swirled back as one when he lifted his sword and then as one surged even closer toward him when he lowered it, their cries unearthly, the very echoes of them echoing for the blood drink they would drink and know him by and speak their recognitions.   But it was otherwise for us, it was the blood surge and the rising heat, the flurry and grasp and cry of entering deeper into one another that drove the ghosts off, that harried them from us—dead husband and ex-wife, and the lovers before them, and before the lovers even the gorgon shadow of parental hovering—gone in the little clearing that our passion made, until we fell back, breathless, apart, and they swarmed up out of hiding, edging closer as the pulse died down, and they were there beside us, angry, wanting their o

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ALAN SHAPIRO's most recent book of poems, Song and Dance, was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2002.

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The blood pooled in the fresh fosse and up they drifted out of Erebus like smoke from every side in a listless swarming all around Odysseus, crowding, pressing, merging together, […]

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The blood pooled in the fresh fosse and up they drifted out of Erebus like smoke from every side in a listless swarming all around Odysseus, crowding, pressing, merging together, […]

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