Peter Constantine reads

Bronze Age

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A poem by Yannis Kondos
trans. by Peter Constantine

The excavations proved your mornings
ill-omened. The earth kept the footprints.
Calculations showed five men. One of them,
the strongest, wore golden sandals.
It was he who broke down the door, and the servant girls
scattered. You had just dipped your foot
in the cistern, your first bath of the day.
Your shrieks and the steam
still show on the walls.
Everything else is lost:
the curses, the attempted explanations,
your nurse’s pleas,
the frightened flight of the dove.
The knives were found, the blood,
the hair in his grasp,
the rumbling and the debris of the earthquake
that struck at the moment of the carnage.

After thousands of years,
the classification, the dull glass cases, conservation,
the museum, people strolling past.