Roman Couplets and Other Poems


Roman Couplets

I have to tell you: I made two.
Didn’t know how else

to make it. I put them
a double return a


-part on the page, let them
fall through sky


side by side. I oppose
these maneuvers, but the truth


is there were two—
one left me, one loved me,


they were the same.
They were different. One is


real, one is my
version. I do not agree


with myself. I do not allow
him to go—why else


all these columns
of strangling


narrative frieze? I have to tell
him: I made two. Didn’t know


how else to make it. I put them
together when the hand


undoes my penmanship.
I am left with little


Rome for error. I choose
wrong, then I revise.


I choose wrong, then I
choose wrong, then I see


it again: the height of
what we know


of man and his
stunning architecture.


I have to return
to Rome—I may have missed


the other I was
supposed to become.


They stayed two.
Didn’t know how


else to make
a choice. Didn’t


know how else to tell
you of the breaking.
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