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From the Winter, 2013 issue of The Antioch Review

Narcissus and Echo

The water had no pulse until his pulse.
Sudden stammer summoned: vowels
like the sparrow’s lost muse.  Narcissus
holding in his arms his reflection in the pool.

Image to image he floated on the water.
Too much beauty becomes another death.
Between mimic and music his bloodless slaughter.
Little chill kiss to fix the kill—no dread

sinking face-down drowned among the lilies.
Soon he turned to pollen and petal for the wind.
A shadow on the rocks still replies,
come, come, here, here: like a widow

or a sparrow she pined and sang her verse.
The water had no pulse until his pulse.



Wohlfeld PhotoValerie Wohlfeld’s most recent book of poetry is Woman with Wing Removed (Truman State University Press, 2010). Her first collection, Thinking the World Visible, won the Yale Younger Poets Prize (Yale University Press, 1994).  She holds an MFA from VermontCollege.  She recently moved to Annapolis, Maryland.

© 2014 The Antioch Review