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In certain lights, our garden looks almost”

not habitable, exactly, but like a garden,

all sudden jonquils, an unexpected host

of primrose like grounded moths. Think Eden

in the aftermath: boxwoods outgrowing

their bequeathed rounded, cornered, or conical

shapes. Dropped limbs. The grass needing mowing.

Windfalls liquefied, a smell

of last November. Hindsight. Fruit flies

ascending like visible, audible breath.

Imagine, against the wall, a rusted cooker

showered with damp white blooms. An onlooker

at an open window, saying, ah, here’s death

undone, again
. And glad of the exercise.

Sally Thomas

The Libertine Against Abortion

(after Ovid, Amores II.13)

My rash Corinna lies near death,

her belly bleeding from the life she wrenched away.

Stupid, stupid girl”your breath

should bear the dueling cries of love, not lonely pain.

I’d spank you if I had you near:

across my knee, switch back your skirt . . . O foolish girl,

my anger falls before my fear

that I will lose your golden skin, your laughing eyes,

your kiss, your arch, your sigh, your fold.

And I’m to blame you felt the spring of life within”

or so, at least, I’m forced to hold:

What has sufficient cause we must conceive as so.

Desire only desire sates,

my ripe Corinna, what did you expect? Perfection

overflows, and love creates

itself in recreation. Your fresh life aroused

the life in me, and life”refreshed”

came back to you. How could we reject the gift

we labored for while our lives meshed?

O Goddess of Birth, Ilithyia, who comforts women

through the pain that makes life new,

forgive the girl who tried to flee from your embrace,

and sparing her, thus spare me too.

I’ll fill your shrine with votive gifts inscribed “For Life.”

Contrite before your altar’s door,

I’ll kneel”with virgin oil and fertile grain”to vow

that when she’s well, we’ll try once more.

J. Bottum