Annus Sanctus -- Stephen Sartarelli
                        Rome, November 2000.

Beneath the hum of bodies,
the slicing of the light,
residual desire
gathers us apart,
each infinitesimal entreaty
granted its silence
to images of permanence,
ideas we have won and lost
unevenly as morning
by a labor handed down
in increments imposed
as daily steps
outside the day,
efforts of our lack,
void of our fulfilment.

What gentle gods
they seem now
as we pay to see
what still remains,

how simple and beyond our ken
the story of their endless vanishing.

Worlds await suspended
in their eyes,
chances let pass
still hovering as want,
breaches in the membranes
of our precious hands,
cyclones raging open-mouthed
in faces soft and serene
as the empty space
of our meeting.

Here is the bartered soul
long embroidered
piecemeal in shadow,
here the bloody play
of our loving reflection,
here the burning,
here the collapse,
here the passing,
here the passage elsewhere.

Our teeming numbers
quiver still to raise
the arms to embrace
the void, declare
a moment's love somehow
of moment still

then make their bow
and step outside

Through sliding glass
we see the door
only as partial reflection

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