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Reading Rilke Aloud in an Empty House


by P.R. Mercado


I arranged all my books before you came,
so that it appears I read some more than others.
I couldn't decide where to put my Rilke. 
He is such an idiosyncratic point in poetry.

Do I want you to think of me as some mad genius, 
yet refined and romantic? Perhaps. 
I placed the Sonnets of Orpheus on the desk,
carrying a bookmark like a tombstone.

How many times do flowers appear in that?
Many, many times. Reading them, I, too,
feel almost abloom, extending myself
in illuminated radius: weeping for the dead.

You make me feel I am reading Rilke. 
You make me feel what Rilke felt
when Rilke wrote what I read
when I read Rilke.
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