“To Ovid.” A Poem by Evan Kennedy

From the Collection Metamorphoses

March 22, 2023  By Evan Kennedy

I tracked you in Rome this September where statues your contemporaries lack arms noses cocks. Casualties of time’s war on us or changes in taste. We share atoms with countless living and dead, missing marble limbs, but I pursue unclaimed meat, stray unincorporated matter moving through plumbing, open forms, atmospheres, malls, your anonymous grave.

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Excluded, indifferent to the constant world, you made epic the bodies split from within, faces erupting from different species’ features, new lifeforms emerging in your darling bucolic anatomical theater, perverse as free verse. I’m as foreign to you as articulation in the entropy I inhabit, a barbaric language I can’t understand though I’m made its captive because I’m made of it—in elegy. I’m not pursuing you exactly but resemblance through subjectless tissue and muscle, expanding grim tradition to keep leopards happy lounging in mossy temples long after belief.


Excerpted from Metamorphoses by Evan Kennedy. Copyright © 2022. Reprinted with the permission of City Lights Books.

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Evan Kennedy
Evan Kennedy
Evan Kennedy is a poet and bicyclist. He is the author of I Am, Am I, to Trust the Joy That Joy Is No More or Less There Now Than Before (Roof Books), Jerusalem Notebook (O’clock Press), The Sissies (Futurepoem), Terra Firmament (Krupskaya), Shoo-Ins to Ruin (Gold Wake Press), and Us Them Poems (Book*hug). He runs the occasional press, Dirty Swan Projects, and was born in Beacon, New York, in 1983. He lives in San Francisco, California.

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