Summer 2003 • Vol. XXV No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 2003 |

Arrival in Rome

I. My head aches, and the stale air burns  my throat, pricks me into sweat and dream. The train rushes its heavy skeleton, shakes  my head side to side in half-paralysis —the nimbus state of half-sleep—and when  I open my eyes, feverish, near laughter,   the blur of lights far off—Venice—carnival      with men in top hats,  women dressed as harlequins or    divas or fat, fuzzy bees. II. How impossible it is to be alone,  not to be seen, impossible not to look, even in fever to give oneself up  to not looking, to close the eyes for sleep in this paradox of stillness and movement,  to be prone and yet hurtling through the dark    that presses against the compartment's windows      while a couple whispers in the aisle.  To know there is always something beyond    and to fear that one may never arrive. III. You appeared like a gargoyle floating in the corner  of my room, beseeched "Sink not Lethe-wa

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Jennifer Grotz is the author of The Needle and Cusp and translator from French of Patrice de La Tour du Pin’s Psalms of All My Days, recently published by Carnegie Mellon University Press. She teaches at the University of Rochester and serves as assistant director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

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I. My head aches, and the stale air burns  my throat, pricks me into sweat and dream. The train rushes its heavy skeleton, shakes  my head side to side in […]

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