Propertius 1.xix

Elegies I.xix

It’s not the final darkness that I fear
nailed in my coffin, ready for the flame.
It’s not death’s cut-off point, the loss of name –
but that my passing won’t be marked by you.

In that blind place I’d summon up our joy
greedy to touch you with my unreal hands.
Even alive I’ve been the ghost that finds
my love’s obsession chills the air you breathe.

What if it’s years before you follow me?
I’ll haunt your future bones right to old age,
and down the decades how my embers’ rage
will scorch you. That is how I’ll live with death.

from The Getting of Vellum (Salmon/Blackwater Press, 2000), ? Catherine Byron 2000, used by permission of the author and Salmon Poetry

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