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The Bride 26, Is Keeping Her Name

Lips, teeth, freckles, cheekbone— a landscape
invented by the ancient Persians (also:

tight leather pants and coins with the faces of kings,

but that’s neither here nor there).

It’s night and we are the round people

wheeling on Olympus; above the tree line,

the world knows nothing of anti-depressants. Until:

Zeus slips off his skis

and cuts the fish in half.

It wasn’t a sexual thing,


poor Callisthenes, hung by the neck

or locked in a cage and dragged

throughout the eastern empire (our sources disagree).

Making out came later,

after gunpowder and the cotton gin.

But who taught the hill tribes to breathe?

Who robbed the British of half their kisses?

The sea is full of dead lovers;

the condos are full of castaway hands.

Twenty-five centuries to turn your face.

Well then, I’ll leave the poorer…

No use: she’s gone and the sky’s gone

hard of hearing. Wet your lips;

the technicians are waiting.


Matthew Brogan

Matthew Brogan's is a poet and the executive director of Seattle Arts & Lectures.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR-MAY 2003

All Issues