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This poem is taken from PN Review 69, Volume 16 Number 1, September - October 1989.

From Temples and Fields Phillis Levin


On the long night train from Nice to Rome
My love and I sat side by side;
The sky distilled, the earth grew redder,
My love and I could love no better.

We spoke in silence, pausing for stars,
Breathing the dust of millions of hours;
Mountains of light through windows shone
- It was not a gold triumphal tone,

But the dark music of empires scattered,
Cries of dogs and horses startled
By sudden changes in the realm.
At the midnight stop in Genoa station

Dull black suits and battered valises
Illustrated the broken tale
Of deals gone sour for a poor trader
Whose wife limped down the narrow aisle,

Then posed behind him, a wooden icon.

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