In the great valley between Hwando and Yazoo City,
laborers tend opium poppies and cotton,
Dying of yellow fever. But on the heights, there is a calm
incense of roasting pork, a delicate mist of flesh
Lovers stroll through to the platform at cliff's edge
Where they gaze down like diligent scholars
At a landscape falsified precisely for their pleasure.
From there, a faint pentatonic music skirls
Up from the valley floor, where we overseers hone
blue notes from invisible instruments stroked
With the abrasive bow of coal smoke and acid rain.
And they were happy in the end, if by happiness
you mean everything was forgotten.
Time had been deeply layered in their bodies
like the ruins of Troy in a hill. Now the innocent
Cattle waged war on milkweed in a pasture,
while a formation of geese wedged harmlessly
Into the evening air. What had they fought about
endless years ago? Time clarifies nothing,
But buttresses of worked stone dissolve in its weightlessness.
Nothing now to defend except their bodies,
Which survived, growing lighter and more translucent
and more useless. In the night sky, stars convened
In images of gods and humans, watching for a sign
of any remnant of passion, a recognition of blood
Transcendence: old Helen fucking ruined Menelaus.
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