narcissus(1)
THE DEATH OF NARCISSUS
by Ken Craft

October, and the glen
resounds with want,
wind, yellow rain of birch leaves.

The face and body wander,
driven by disdain,
downhill where earth
and echo
hold their breath.

From a distance, silver
eye lashed by dying buttonbush.
At its flanks
the warmth of moss
pressing palms and knees.

Hemlock, sky, clouds
above and again in the depths
frame first the face,
then two deltoids of desire
tensing as he leans hard
over the stillness of self,
sensing a virgin desire.

Lowering his lips, he
feels the coolness of this first
kiss, never noticing the shadow
his beauty casts
over these violated waters.

IMAGE: “Narcissus” by Caravaggio (1599).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ken Craft is a writer and teacher living in Massachusetts. His poetry has appeared in Gray’s Sporting Journal, Petrichor Machine, Grasslimb, Amethyst Arsenic, and other print and online journals. He finds inspiration in the smell of black coffee unsullied by “flavors” (like hazelnut and pumpkin); the cheerful sound of chickadees in pine trees on zero-degree winter mornings (how do they do it?); the taste of maple syrup in everything (except coffee); the cold, salty slap of the Atlantic on hot August afternoons; and the welcome sight of the Maine state line sign on the Piscataqua River Bridge (read: “You have arrived!”). His secret to happiness is not owning a cellphone.