Orpheus Speaks

I wept for the taste of berries in your mouth
and for the metamorphosis of roses ever perplexed
with how to bloom, knowing how their meanings changed.
Oh, come and go. Where is your breath I held
within my throat, where is your scar my fingers traced?
Because there was song, I learned to overlive the rose
by a day. Or two. Still now it scares me to disintegrate.

And how can I sing my grief when I have no words
with you dead the second time? You were the tune
once heard upon the crossroads of systole and diastole,
where no temple to Apollo is found. You sang
our lives alive. Now dead as a Roman aqueduct
your song fluxes to the sea’s slumberous ear.
It’s true her murmurous waterways would not listen
if my music ceased instead. You composed
the ripened tang of berries, the taste of wild blue
elderbloom. You were the winefull cup and chalice
of the earth. Now with you dead anew, the leaves
of my songbook scatter to thorn and nettle vine; I unstring
my lyre and heartstrings, untie the twain pipes of heartcore,
and step into the twice-full stream that sweeps me
out of time, to come and go amid your lost forms.

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