Marilyn Kallet

Trespass and Dante Confidential
December 23, 2018 Kallet Marilyn

That is not your poem to write, she says.
And I claim they are all mine to sing, even this.

Maybe I’ll do a fucking series
on his near-death experience. If I love him,

shouldn’t I also suffer the knife?
He is too beautiful to live, she chides.

All the more reason to survive, I say.
Beauty is twice beauty, ten,

when it comes to him.
But the poem, she nags, the poem?

Right. They found a clot.
In his bloodstream.

Endymion was near-
perfect. The gods inserted

a death note.
What gods, she said?

He is not your lover,
or your child.

That hit true.
I am merely his friend.

Maybe that’s what Verlaine said,
at the end.

Dante Confidential

You need too much time with him, Dante said.
One glimpse of Bea, and I was set, he bragged.

Yeah, yeah, but was she beautiful?
She was okay, he said. Something else

Shot through her. some kind of light.
But what if she’d been beautiful? I asked,

Yesterday’s TED Talk claimed we need beauty to survive.
Then I’d be dead, he said.

I’ve got news for you, I said.
Who’s Ted? he asked.

Marilyn Kallet is Knoxville Poet Laureate, and has published 18 books, including How Our Bodies Learned, The Love That Moves Me, and Packing Light: New and Selected Poems, Black Widow Press. She has translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems and Benjamin Péret’s The Big Game. Dr. Kallet is Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee. She leads a writing residency for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, in Auvillar, France. She has performed her poems across the United States as well as in France and Poland, as a guest of the U.S. Embassy’s “America Presents” program. Her poetry appeared recently in New Letters and is forthcoming in North American Review’s “Open Space,” and in New Voices, an anthology of contemporary voices on antisemitism.