After Petrarch

By Emily Wheeler

A romance developed in my sixtieth year,
which gave me hope, perhaps inane,
surely extreme, especially in my verse,
and affirmed principles of affection and cheer.

My lover was tender, our love serious, useful.
It was as if in the afternoon, gray, crepuscular
an angel had arrived! And we both so secular!
Of course we never spoke of death, its easeful

nest, or the unlikelihood we’d ever alight
together in the tall trees or, quivering,
fly off at the same moment, but that was alright,

because, whenever new or found or at least not lost,
desire adds a drop to the earth’s thousand rivers
and briefly greens the grave, its bed of moss.


Emily Wheeler is a freelance editor and writing coach for scientists, previous ex-
pat (Germany, 12 years), docent (at the Arnold Arboretum), editorial whatever
(wherever), and recently moved to Cape Cod. Wheeler’s poems have appeared
in Barrow Street and Orion, among other publications. Water Ring, Wheeler’s
manuscript, is still on the street.

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