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Sculling On The Lethe by Paul Genega

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Cassandra

Genega, Paul

Cassandra
for Patty Stotter

Listen quick while the words
are still my making. Inside others
are waiting, night-feathered and
clawed. Words, words, they fly
from poor Cassandra. Cassandra, poor
Cassandra, less a woman now than wind.

No one dares kiss these lips
which can’t stop moving, dares touch.
See, real hands. Me, I see too
clearly. Even lids shut
such dazzle, such sharp light.
Yes, pity her… us… me…

Like the moon, the living moon
which can tongue its way through
forest, nothing stops her. She is
his. I am she. I am Cassandra
a flame which should be frozen
a buoy in heaving seas lamenting

its own clapper. I toll. I toll 
like fate. She names the days. She
am Cassandra, with the truth
which makes men shudder, which makes
them laugh. They’ll soon be ash. All
but you, if you will listen while

she thinks this is her making.
Words, I give her words, unstoppable
as ocean, to roil around that once-proud
mouth. Drink, if you dare, but beware
I am Cassandra. Mine. I am the god’s
cursed with words skinned from the stars

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