‘…he could not get rid of the tendency to reconstruct the “Ange” who was daily broken into fragments…’ —

Italo Svevo, Senility

As I wrap your photograph

with its expensive frame

back into the crêpe

and then the paper

deciding that I cannot

go through this again

the stupid vertigo

at the merest sign of life

the stain in the mind’s eye

that tarnishes the rest

the dreary barren ache

of the unrequited

— hoping to nip

that nonsense in the bud

I find nevertheless

my lips pressed to the paper

in the region I suppose of your heart

thereby re-inventing

an orthodox gesture,

the kissing of the Icon

which even as I wrap, and hide away

(and had I the strength

that I would shatter)

reconstructs and will not die.