Beth Bachmann


No shepherds. No nymphs. Maybe just one:


the girl the fawn strips like a fisherman’s rose.


Death turns its mouth red. It can no longer lie


in the lilies. Not on my watch. The lake is filthy


with silver fish sticky with leeches. Lovesick,


I flick a feather into the water. No stones.


Only the one in my pocket, heavy as a tongue.



“Elegy” first appeared in American Poetry Review, 37:2.