Moira Egan

All the Old Weapons

Who’s the one who said it? All the old weapons
poems lay down, bladelessly or just rusty
fall to prose in paragraphs safe as houses.
        (Lock up the gun case.)

Here beside me pick out the weapons once you
used to slice through language or love. Achilles,
tent the blanket round us and heal these tenden-
        cies past believing.

Ancient rhythm, cardiac wisdom beating
punctuates the body with rhyme and reason.
Silence treats us equally, linking pulses.
        I hear your blood flow.

I’m the reliquary whose artist carved her
center’s empty space to hold something sacred,
petrified as the bog-heart buried ages
        I don’t remember.

Absinthe, teardrop, water of life I may be
only drinking all that I know of useful,
bottles, battles, settlements, as I watch us
        learning the language.

Moira Egan's most recent poetry collection is Hot Flash Sonnets, out with Passager Books (Baltimore). Her work has been published in many journals and anthologies in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Rome, where she teaches, translates, and sometimes even manages to write new poems. "All the Old Weapons" was first published in Spin, Entasis Press, Washington DC, 2010.