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On the express train to Vienna
she writes in her diary
notes about Rome and Naples.

Ink marks like parthenogenetic aphids,
pages like blood smears
of homing pigeons.

She is alone, gray, reconciled,
a Leda long after the swan's departure,
Odysseus retired at Lotophagitis.

Back home, in Maryland,
the notebook will be interred
in the archetypal drawer,

among the yellowed love letters,
among the infant hair curls,
among the dried adult flowers,

near the cushion where the castrated cat dreams
while Mahler's forever forever forever
chokes in the green wallpaper.

It is her message to imagined little sons;
it is her membership in the club
of Swifts, Goethes, Rimbauds, Horatiuses and   
                                          deathwatch beetles.

It is her monument outlasting bronze,
five-dimensional reality, the last engraving
of primeval man on reindeer bone,

the last drop
of the fluid soul
before evaporation.

Source: Poetry (April 2008)

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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