. . . the word
not even Vergil knew, who died with his work unfinished.
—Ursula K. Le Guin, “Learning Latin in Old Age”


From his fever in Brundisium
he visits like the wavering in bronze
scratched grave-bound across its gods and heroes,
the worried wick of a face still breathing light.
Ceaseless as a vow, he is muttering
the thread of elisions and emendations
spinning ever finer, down to the last minute’s snap.
He will reach its harsh caesura
between the swell of the Adriatic and the setting Pleiades,
his books unburnt, immortal, incomplete.
He stands at your shoulder
like a shade in a mist of marshes, carrying
the torch for every maker
who would have glimpsed just one more line ahead.


Sonya Taaffe

Sonya Taaffe reads dead languages and tells living stories. Her short fiction and poetry have been collected most recently in As the Tide Came Flowing in (Nekyia Press) and previously in Singing Innocence and Experience, Postcards from the Province of Hyphens, A Mayse-Bikhl, Ghost Signs, and the Lambda-nominated Forget the Sleepless Shores. She lives with one of her husbands and both of her cats in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she writes about film for Patreon and remains proud of naming a Kuiper belt object.

Photo Credit: Rob Noyes

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