“The Parthenon at Nashville” by Joe Bolton

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25 November 2015
Late December noon, near freezing—
Maple and sweetgum bare, but the grass green yet
In sunlight, and warmth of light wearing away
At the frail scythe's-edge of ice
Around the pond. On her lunch hour,
Parked in his car, they tossed the last
Of their sandwiches to ducks that bobbed and fussed
In the smaller oval of water not frozen over.
They were beyond being
In love, but not quite ready
To look past the end of the affair.
Across the water, reflected in the water,
Risen stone:
Columns swelling with light,
The stylized figures restored
To the frieze- an order
Called into question
By the troubled surface of the pond.
They remember wondering
What happened to the ducks
Come autumn. Now they know: nothing.
And now a solitary jogger pushes his breath
Past them, as the traffic continues
Out on West End.
They sense that something
Needs to be done or said—
Anything but this feeling of themselves
As figures held in the motion
Of some lost moment.
And yet they can't seem to move, to speak,
Maybe thinking they won't have this clarity
Again for a long time, maybe amazed
At the distance from which they see themselves:
Luminous, hardly human,
And already half in love with the beautiful ruins.
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