One way to say goodbye
is to stand in the street at dusk
looking for Mars among the leavings
of a sunset feast, and agree
that it must be that one, there,
the red seed bare on a blue glass plate
--but sweet, Jane says, who is more brave
than I: she is the one going
in autumn, who believes that Mars
is ours to eatóthat the message
received was sent, that a thing we launched
could harbor there and still belong
to usóbut I will not agree.
I will crush the seed between steel spoons
if she will not belong to me,
and burn my eyes red with nectar
so my throat will remain unsweet.
I will taste steel like a strange morning
just removed from bloodóI will shed
my limbs and chase her: a tarpon
circling by the docks at night, fierce
in all three-thousand of my bones
but helpless to put out the light.
I will wear out, I will retreat
to sip red tears from a steel-rimmed cup,
to lie down under a snow-bound dusk
and watch the redless sky retreató
to look for Mars in winter and
see that to sorrow is to eat.

Cyd Harrell, 2000.
Published In Oxygen Quarterly No. 20. Further rights reserved.
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