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Lisbon

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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)

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

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Lisbon

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