You should have known I’d return.
My letters to you always embraced
the left margin, the page’s West
where the golden apples grew – yes, yes,
those same apples Atalanta gathered up
while she ran against her suitor, Hippomenes
and in losing, poor virgin, lost herself
to marriage. I am a better loser:
a mediocre huntress, at best, at ease
with chronology – step, step – one leads
to the next. In the tick-tock gap
that is you, I am the horologist, watching
the moon’s occipital glow, clockwise.
Centuries ago last week, the portcullis
descended on desire and wanters were reduced
to counterfeit obsessions – small foods, snow globes,
flacons and flagons, matters of scale
void of passion. Now no one is beheaded,
and we are free to proceed with the melee:
the senate on excess meets all day daily.
I will convince you: I am not tempted
by the desserts of deception, no, no,
I am besotted, though my feet may stutter
en route to the altar, though sweat
may fret your wondering brow – does she mean
what she says? – I do. I lost the race, plotting
a leisurely pace and am better for it.
Juno demands we untie all the knots
before she will oversee my delivery unto you
and yours to me under Jove’s bright eye.
I told those Nymphs of the Setting Sun
(better than a watch of nightingales,
nymphs turned poplar, willow, elm)
that it would all work out and they sang
their usual ditty near that spring –
you know, the one that spurts ambrosia.