Michael Salcman




Dante
s Lake


In a small mirror nailed at the end of a darkened hall,

its bright silver blackened by the air that gave it life, 

I see reflected the smallest part of what I am—
the picture yes but not the noise, as if the eye were all.



In Como, where Dante’s lake laps the sage

and the night air smells of iodine,
I recall remembering the price of forgetting, the wage
I’d gladly pay in dropping you this line.

It’s late; the moony waters drown memory in a gilded frame
where your voice recedes.
I smell the heat of torches set to burning weeds,

time stopping in the hallways of my brain.



The circle closes. If only you had come to kiss away the tears,

wipe my face and dry them years ago.


Michael Salcman, poet, physician and art historian, was chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland and president of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore. “Dante’s Lake” first appeared in The Peacock Review. Poems appear in Alaska Quarterly Review, Arts & Letters, Hopkins Review, The Hudson Review, New Letters, Notre Dame Review, Poet Lore, and Ontario Review. Salcman is the author of four chapbooks. Books include The Clock Made of Confetti (Orchises, 2007), nominated for The Poets' Prize, The Enemy of Good is Better (Orchises, 2011), Poetry in Medicine, his popular anthology of classic and contemporary poems on doctors, patients, illness & healing (Persea Books, 2015) and A Prague Spring, Before & After (2016), winner of the 2015 Sinclair Poetry Prize from Evening Street Press.







                                    

 

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