They found the seventy six statues
left at Cyrene, and were there coins
scattered at their feet, bearing the signs
of the herb? Did the shapes reveal that
something like love might be there still?
I would whisper to the hedgerows
of the days when I would leave home
and though I knew nothing of that ancient land
or the smell of silphium, I knew
I was coming here, to this city,
where they sell Christmas trees from concrete lots,
where the burnt-neon buses run through the night,
where there are smaller cities inside the big city,
made of tents and trolleys and trash.
I knew I was headed your way,
that to make that perfect ideograph
our valves would be made ready
to be coerced from us and combined.
Carthage and Alexandria drove Cyrene to ruin
and Cyrene harvested silphium until there was no more
but with a doodle of your initials I capture the shape
and there is love still, here, on the other side of the world.
Shannon Wolf is a British writer living in Lafayette, Louisiana, who earned her MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and is currently an MFA candidate in Poetry at McNeese State University. Her poetry, short fiction and non-fiction, which can also be found under the name Shannon Bushby, have appeared in, or is forthcoming from Gravel, The Forge Lit Mag, and Great Weather for Media, among others.