is thought to be a confession, won by endless
torture, but which our interrogators must
hate to record—all those old code names, dates,
the standard narrative of sandpaper
throats, even its remorse, fall ignored. Far
away, a late (not lost) messenger stares,
struck by window bargains or is it the gift
of a sudden solicitude: is she going to
lift up her shadow’s weight, shift hers
onto it? She knows who bears whom. In
that momentary museum where memory occurs
more accrue of those torturers’ pincers than
lessened fingernails, eyes teased to a pulp,
we beg for closeups. Ormolus, objets d’art!
A satyr drains an hourglass with one gulp.
Bill Knott, "The Golden Age" from Outremer, published by University of Iowa Press. Copyright 1989 by Bill Knott. Reprinted by permission of the author.