Sappho, 31

By all the gods I don’t know why the hell
I come to these things passed defences
farewell parties publications showers house-

cohost of tonight’s engagement bride-to-be
Anaktoria reaches into the twilight to find
my hand honey great to see you her eyes blind me
twin suns

clinging to my jostled glass its winedark sea still
rough from the sudden you too storm of her grasp
ears ringing congratulations I stand on blades
of grass

yellow-green hey are you still writing daggers
of despair pin my tongue I still have that poem
you wrote me when we were—just then he appears
like god

when he leans in near for an earful of her
murmured sweet-talk her familiar flirty laughter
the rhythm of my rib-caged heart trips
over itself

trembling in cold sweat I step back torched from within
by subtle flame bones incinerated skin translated
to brittle fragments almost lost to myself
I appear



This is an adaptation, with some translated pieces, of a fragment of Sappho (31). It was published in Room magazine issue 38.1, “In Translation” (Spring 2015).