Winter 2007

Table of Contents - Vol. III, No. 4


Poetry    Essays    Fiction    Book Reviews

David W.Landrum


Saint Augustine’s Lover Remembers

It lasted fifteen years. He would not deign
to marry me, though I bore him a son.
God purchased me a slave, he said, and I
have no choice but to bow and acquiesce.
I knew the surging rhythms of his flesh,
remember nights spent under endless sky,
the sea against the shore, Orion, the Bear
whirling above as dizzy falling stars
illumed our bodies thrashing in the night
with sounds of waves and heaving ocean tides
outside our window, his voice pitched with mine,
his bass to my soprano, up a third,
then to augmented fourths when the end neared.
Hyenas howled out in the desert wastes
as we lay there and sweated, like two rags,
limp in fulfillment and in satiety.

I never understood dichotomies:
Platonic, Manichean, Christian ones.
They all shopped in the self-same marketplace,
these merchants of sterility. The lines
they drew to differentiate their sects,
seem ludicrous to me, since they all used
the same bung-hole; and everyone of them
could piss against a wall, and everyone
had the equipment Zeus gave as a gift
to propagate. And yet their prophets stopped
the natural impulse that sets forth the world
in flow and motion. So it was he claimed
he was not now the man he was before,
had been kidnapped by God and could not be
my lover and my confidant and friend.

He ran from me when he saw me in the streets.
I told his son God should not use his power
to oppose something as small and tender as
a vulnerable human heart. A lion may snack
on kittens; eagles, doves; jackals kill lambs.
Nature, I know, is bitter and is cruel.
But God is not—or not supposed to be.

Our son, Adeodatus, died not long after
Augustine bowed to baptism. Now I
am old. The empire’s crumbling. I recall
the nights when we made love; remember well
his strong embrace and—as he writes those tomes
of dark theology—his whispered words.


© David W.Landrum


Poetry    Essays    Fiction    Book Reviews

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