Sarah Dowling

These Things Now for My Companions/I Shall Sing Beautifully

Be it known that I carried a revolver, a willing

pistol into this century. I had an interesting name,


after all. I was Troy, Eureka, Etna and Antioch.

I scraped a big red gash. I was terrible but I for-


got. I took the older-than-being knives to beauti-

ful limbs. I named myself for the ancient poet-


ess. I called out to Athens, Rome, Albion, and

Arcadia. I thought the pluckers would forget,


somehow the pickers forgot me. I wrote, rosy-

fingered in smokeless powder. Few people in the


area were aware. In forty-nine Palmyras, forty-

eight Spartas, forty-five Senecas, thirty-nine


Phoenixes I penned a dead practice, I converted

my models to local names. All this I harvested,


missed, and forgot somehow—my vision dimmed

with tears.










I brought on heavier sleep, I willed all to black.

I carried the name of the family that settled these


thirty-three Uticas and thirty-one Corinths, twenty-

nine Omegas, twenty-seven Smyrnas and remade


the coming century. I was reddening high at the tip, I

pumped rounds into convenient targets and dream-


ed of twenty-four Olympias, twenty-three Clios,

and twenty-two Venuses who were all fond of


Sappho’s poetry. I ran across, being out of reach—

they didn’t notice—rather, they did but I took the


heavier revolvers. In Akron, in Delphi, in Altamont,

and Cambria, the apple-pickers missed me—I was


smokeless, amusingly soft. Twenty Catos, twenty

Ionias, and twenty Ovids, nineteen Hectors and


eighteen Orions told a little story about how I sur-

passed what I entered. I plucked the special accu-


racy of power. I plucked seventeen Solons, seven-

teen Atticas, seventeen Cincinnatis, seventeen Eu-


clids, Platos, Virgils, and Ciceros, I was plinking

in this terrible somehow. I gashed my own face,


turning high at the lips.















I entered Sylvanias through to Albas. I targeted

a mangle of friends. I was on the top-most branch.


I was bulky. I was willing to hit limbs, to be new.

I named eleven Utopias, eleven Cretes, and eleven


Hibernias. I took the state to have a case, a thing like

black, new will-to-power. I made excursions to ten


Neptunes, ten Scios, ten Aeolias, ten Corydons and

ten Jupiters. I reddened on the highest blush, a deli-


cate somehow. I was a soft flame. My skin reddened

to a target, semi-jacketed by the beautiful moon. I


was the honeyapple of Ithaca. I was a special kind

of Elysium. In this Rubicon, on this high branch, I


was a new century revolver. I entered eight Deltas,

seven Aurelias, Didos, and all my seven Mentors. I


just went down, and that was it. I was ripening and

turning red on the—reddening high on the—getting


ripe like that sweet Ida on the top-most bough. But

somehow there was this terrible gash and I couldn’t


reach it, I couldn't reach the Elyrias, the Lithias, the

Petras. None could get it, I just couldn’t.