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Featured Poem II • November 2015

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Aetiologies

 

Sonya Taaffe

 
 

Do not let me dream you, irrevocable ghost with your voice like thyme honey and your wry lion’s face, do not let us meet in the burning city or the birdless dark, my arms full of black beans, white rocks, golden boughs. Do not make yourself fall through me like a shadow or a lost breeze, sealed forever to memory, ivory and horn. Once you were the boy I met only in black and white, pinned to the corkboard with the rest of the imago: a stubborn-shouldered undergraduate in a casement of privilege, ivy-wrapped and damn their sure smiles, those were your two years of Greek beating from the page like a heart with iron through it, their long sea-stresses shifting the beach with its spear-wrack, the ships of the Myrmidons black and hollow as grief. τέκνον, τί κλαίεις; She stroked the tears from his kelp-gold hair, asking. And I was crying because I knew.

 

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Sonya Taaffe

Sonya Taaffe’s short fiction and poetry can be found in the collections Ghost Signs (Aqueduct Press), A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press), Postcards from the Province of Hyphens (Prime Books), and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books), and in various anthologies, including The Humanity of Monsters, Genius Loci: Tales of the Spirit of Place, and Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror. She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master’s degrees in classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She lives in Somerville with her husband and two cats.

“Aetiologies” is dedicated in memory of Dr. Michael Matthew Fiveash, 1946–2013. “He was my best beloved high school Latin teacher; I still miss him. At his wake I read poems that I would not have been able to write without the Latin he taught me, or the Greek I learned after him. This was one of them. Ave atque vale, magister.

 

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