By Jason Myers
Rain, Eurydice, more rain.
It seems these mountains are married
to cold, damp clouds. I’ve known
no sun here, where you are
not. I sit by this window
and peel the skin from a pear.
Darling, I needed to see you
and now I see rain, hotel porn.
Somebody sent chrysanthemums,
some roses, an orchid. They smell
nothing like you. My nose is wasted
on onions and cilantro’s summer noise.
I won’t cry any more. I won’t wake
in the middle of the night and reach
for the phone to call you.
This rain, how it seems to seethe
like water hissing from the lips
of the kettle, begging one more dance
with Darjeeling. I watch the news
of India, a 70-year-old couple killed
in their hotel room. Didn’t Dickinson say
the world was made for lovers?
Well, she died alone and this pear
tastes like salt. O little town
with your shut-down steel factories,
build me a ship, there is a river
I need to cross with waters so dark
dawn looks like night and my own name
is sung on the waves like a curse.
Today’s poem originally appeared in AGNI, and is reprinted here today with permission from the poet.
Jason Myers grew up in western Maryland, and graduated from Bennington College. He received his MFA from NYU and has also lived in Berkeley, California and upstate New York. A finalist for the National Poetry Series, he currently lives in Atlanta, where he recently received a Master of Divinity degree from Emory University
Editor’s Note: Don’t look back. The unheeded warning that left Eurydice in Hades and Orpheus destined for his own darkness in the world above. But to be human is to look back, and that is what Jason Myers grapples with and succumbs to in today’s poem.
One of the things I love most about lyric poetry is its concern with the same themes humans have been struggling with since before the invention of the oral—let alone the written—word. We have all looked back, despite our best efforts to restrain ourselves.
Beneath the layers of time, of progress, of modernization, there is little difference between the heart of the musician poet who sought to retrieve his lost love from the depths of the underworld and the heart of the man sitting alone in a hotel room in a steel town. Both men know to their cores what Myers means when he says, “there is a river / I need to cross with waters so dark / dawn looks like night and my own name / is sung on the waves like a curse.”