All the Old Weapons

by Moira Egan

Who’s the one who said it? All the old weapons
poems lay down, bladelessly or just rusty
fall to prose in paragraphs safe as houses.
(Lock up the gun case.)


Here beside me pick out the weapons once you
used to slice through language or love. Achilles,
tent the blanket round us and heal these tenden-
cies past believing.


Ancient rhythm, cardiac wisdom beating
punctuates the body with rhyme and reason.
Silence treats us equally, linking pulses.
I hear your blood flow.


I’m the reliquary whose artist carved her
center’s empty space to hold something sacred,
petrified as the bog-heart buried ages
I don’t remember.


Absinthe, teardrop, water of life I may be
only drinking all that I know of useful,
bottles, battles, settlements, as I watch us
learning the language.


Moira Egan’s poetry collections are Cleave; La Seta della Cravatta/The Silk of the Tie; Bar Napkin Sonnets; and, most recently, Spin (Entasis Press, 2010). Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2008. With Damiano Abeni, she has published books in translation by John Barth, Mark Strand, Josephine Tey, and John Ashbery, whose collection, Un mondo che non può essere migliore: Poesie scelte 1956-2007, won a Special Prize of the Premio Napoli (2009). She has been a Mid Atlantic Arts Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; Writer in Residence at St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Malta; a Writing Fellow at the Civitella Ranieri Center; and a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. She has been teaching poetry and literature for many years, and now teaches English and Creative Writing at John Cabot University in Rome.

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