Jonathan Gammon McClure (University of California, Irvine, USA)
You know that scene in Virgil,
how Aeneas ran back screaming
for Creusa in the burning city?
I first read it outside the airport, smoking
as I thumbed the copy you’d given me.
You’d said to return it next time I saw you;
we knew that meant it was mine to keep.
But people move apart, it’s no great tragedy –
we knew that too, of course.
I ground the embers into an ashtray.
Three times Aeneas threw his arms
not around his lover or her ghost,
but around the hollow space
where the ghost had been:
shadow of a shadow
of what was lost already,
the warm night thick with smoke.
J.G. McClure is an MFA candidate at the University of California, Irvine, where he teaches writing. His poems appear or are forthcoming in various publications including, most recently, The Southern Poetry Anthology, and his reviews appear in Cleaver. He is at work on his first collection.