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Maker of Bowls

          — after Cavafy

 

On this mixing bowl of purest silver,
made for the house of Herakleides,
they of the most exquisite taste,

note the blooming thyme beside the river
where I’ve etched a young man mid-frieze,
naked and alluring, one leg placed

ankle-deep in that rippling water, forever.
Memory—your steady hand and eye—please
help me render, just as it was, the face

of the beautiful boy I loved. The effort
defeats me, for he fell at Magnesia
nearly fifteen years ago after Scipio marched east from Thrace.

— first published in AGNI; republished on Poetry Daily