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In Among The Ruins, Love

by denise o'hagan | after Cupid and Psyche, Ostia Antica, Rome


I tread the wide slabbed stone street, lined

with pines, thinking that those ancients

knew how to build a road alright. Passing the half-

shell of an amphitheatre, the grid lines of

tenements, remains of shops of wheat and

wine and other goods, some with deities still

rubbled at their doors, I come at last to stand,

as we stood so many times before, on the

pale tessellated floor where, raised clean

among the mosaics and sunbaked bricks

they stand, twin torsos, pedestaled: Cupid,

accidental victim of his mother’s ploy, in a

marbled embrace with Psyche, beauteous

and unwitting prompter of so much envy.


You used to bring me here, too fractious

a child to be constrained by an apartment.

Meet at the statuettes in twenty minutes!

you’d say, and off I’d run; what would I give

to turn back now to you. I no longer wonder

what happened to their legs or why their

eyes are blank, but fancy I can still feel—

as I watch a lizard slowly cross Psyche’s

polished thigh—in among the ruins, love.

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Image by Bree Anne
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