After two weeks under the Italian sun,
he would dash off a note to Fanny Brawne:
“Weather marvelous. Fully recovered.
Come soon and bring summer dresses.”
And she would come. She would pull
his miraculous heart to her breast,
and they would listen to every bird’s song.
The odes would win a silly contest,
and they would use the prize money
to build a small house on a Greek island.
They would spend the next twenty years
perfecting the art of the human body.
They would eat fine olives and swallow
the sound of each wave’s roll onto the beach.
They would make love under the night sky
with such tense clarity that the moon
would become the bright face of God.
One morning the man would pick up his pen,
sit by the window, write, “I was happy
to be John Keats,” and never write again.
“Revision” originally appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, 81.4, (fall 2005).