Ariadne Auf Naxos, with Her Regrets
(“Rest on the Flight to Egypt,” Luc Olivier Merson, 1879)
I have given up both: on my mother’s
dignity and my father’s religion;
floating, arms and legs out, face down…
I prefer the beauty and terror of the lessons
of a remote lagoon. I am diminished,
abandoned, and as melancholic as
that painting that will follow: a weary
Christian Mary fleeing with her newborn.
The baby glowing like the radium face
of a spectral watch; the two of them,
dredged in desert dust, cradled in the paws
of an Egyptian sphinx. She is beautiful
and barefoot; the night is chilly, clear, blue.
I will not give up finding a balm. Living things
are drawn to a soothing draught of water; living
things like sleeping next to other living things.
Scott Hightower is the author of five collections of poetry, including Part of the Bargain, (which received Copper Canyon Press’s 2004 Hayden Carruth Award), Self-evident (Barrow Street Press, 2013) and Hontanares (Devenir, 2013), an English/Spanish bi-lingual collection with Spanish translator Natalia Cabajosa. In 2008, Hightower’s translations garnered a prestigious Barnstone Translation Prize. He lives and works in New York, and sojourns in Spain.