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Debora Greger

  • Politics May 10, 2001

    The Marriage of Orpheus

    Something brushed my cheek with damp--
    a leaf, its little valley slick with run-off

    after rain. One last drop shook loose
    and struck a spider web, which shuddered

    but held on to this grieving world
    so a butterfly--a mourning cloak?--

    could uncoil its watch-spring of a tongue
    in the time it took a limousine to stretch

    down the thin twig of street, almost to my door.
    A long albino snake gone straight,

    tied with a big white bow--O pet,
    you're not mine. You belong a few doors down--

    see, here comes a man in gold morning coat,
    carrying pale pink roses like a lute.

    He leaned inside the low dark cave
    of a car to kiss someone I never saw,

    who straightened his pale pink cravat.
    Orpheus, would love turn back while it can?

    Around the corner a nurse in white
    stood at an open door, lifting her long white arm

    gently to bar the way of an old woman
    bundled in hat and coat, though it was August.

    Debora Greger