Lisbon

By Eliza Griswold b. 1973 Eliza Griswold
We meet midway to walk white cobbles
under a fish-flesh gray sky.
Europe is collapsing; we are collapsing

always and again no matter how hard
we love one another. I don’t understand
our failure, where the feed loops

back and spits us into another country,
another junior suite reenacting this same,
same beat of   a scene that begins, rises,

never ends, always ends —
Our intentions don’t meet,
their courses set differently

by a force you don’t believe in,
could be as simple as life. I want
to be the wife you don’t want.

You won’t let go of my wrist.
I resist, threaten, bully, acquiesce.
We write the next act of The Alchemist

in New York, Lisbon, a beach,
a bar, star-crossed maybe
from different galaxies. You approach,

I retreat. You retreat, I reproach.
The manic two-step jitters
over North Africa’s dunes

farther than our hero, Santiago, can see.
I rise in the night to find the sharp knife
that came with the pears as a courtesy.

Source: Poetry (September 2013).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2013
 Eliza   Griswold

Biography

Eliza Griswold is a poet and reporter whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and the New Republic. Her books include the poetry collection Wideawake Field (2007) and the non-fiction title The Tenth Parallel (2010), which examines Christianity and Islam in Asia and Africa. In 2010, Griswold won the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome for her poetry, and in 2011, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Realistic & Complicated, Activities, Travels & Journeys

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.