Carmina Mucronis: 5


Take this two-hundred count
of donated denarii, my dear Dido
of golden Arabia. That’s two pounds
worth of purple – yes, wages enough
for two months. But this is not all.
I will return in a week’s time:
Don’t forget to leave your window
unlatched, open, inviting as usual,
with your scarf tied on, drenched
in the newly bought lavender
which my silver gift will allow you
to purchase. Then I will slip the sill
in silence and, holding my breath,
find you by your gentle panting
and the scent of your presence
awash upon the air. Meanwhile,
pocket my coins in the soft bed
of your purse: let it polish and buff
Apollo’s heads as if each were mine –
let it coddle each nude Marsyas too,
he who stands by Minerva as a vow
to share his wineskin with us two,
you and I, together – and let love make
of my sunny currency something
with a proper interest for you.

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