Walking through shadows that night made, streetlights glancing at passersby, I’m reminded of crumbling aqueducts I passed through in the Roman countryside and wonder who else dreams or stays awake at night— the eye caught in a garden that, too, has lost its war with time. The lake in the center of the garden is a moon filled with swans, beaks resting on folded wings. What I’m saying is, some glow is enough to draw one out of restlessness, lest you forget— I devour everything I can, the mind defaced, nightgown, strawberry leaf, a statue, half-submerged. Looked like you. Couldn’t be you. I’m often betrayed by memory: you, bathing in a pond or sitting on cathedral steps, image after image. Meaning is slippery; the world gets smaller— You’re trapped inside it, then you’re not.
Eric Stiefel lives in Athens, Ohio with his dog, Violet. He received his MFA in poetry from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was also Junior Fellow in Poetry. He teaches at Ohio University, where he is a PhD candidate and was named the winner of the 2018 Sequestrum New Writer Awards and a finalist in the 2018 Penn Review Poetry Prize.