Poetry by Casey Lafante

Poetry by Casey Lafante

By Casey Lafante

Temple of Caeser

They drop gifts on the stone
tucked behind a wall—
pennies, petitions,
posies of poppies
lining the path,
temple to temple,
stone to stone,
decay to decay.
Like myths, they have survived,
taken root, made what
is not beautiful, beautiful.

In a different life,
I, broken, sat in a cantina,
palms up, life lines out.
The left, fragmented,
fading into nothing.
The right, stitched,
becoming something
more than what was fated.
The left speaks the blueprint
the gods provide you,
the right, they say, that which
you provide yourself,
but, I, like Caesar, didn’t believe in
admitting the weakness of superstition,
the fear of fire falling from the sky,
of lions roaring in city streets,
of betrayal by one’s friends or
one’s own body, saved only by the grace of
gods or luck or a cold poison that
spared this cynic from Caesar’s fate.

I didn’t believe it,
really believe it,
until I stood in the ruins,
until I saw the blood
orange poppies,
their petals reaching, wide and open,
a stubborn existence.

Impero Perduto

“We have to imagine,” you say,
“what reconstructed cities looked like.”
And I have to imagine
the romanticized empire
you’ve constructed—
stone and marble,
strong and reliable,
not patched,
haphazard,
as is this often beautiful city.
I see it as I see you.
You, like the Romans,
layer secret
over secret
over secret,
building vertical futures
doomed to reveal the
poorly hidden false idols
of your past. But the
Romans, unlike you,
aren’t ashamed of
their antiquities.
If you were a city,
and if I were honest,
what might you look like?
What might I see if
I excavated your life—
what revised,
what removed,
what stolen and reclaimed
as your own?
What lost?
Unlike you, I don’t have to
imagine anything.
I know.


Casey Lefante earned her MFA from the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans. Her work has been published in "Mud Season Review," "Third Coast," "Zone 3," "Slush Pile," and "The Burlesque Press Variety Show," as well as in the anthology "Monday Nights." In 2011, she was short-listed for the William Faulkner novel-in-progress award, and she is currently at work on a novel. She lives, writes, and teaches in New Orleans.

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