Russell Shorto


you lie there burning and wait but not
waiting when not attending but wanting
what things sleep builds in your breast

i can't sleep and you care in that some burr
catches in the net of your dream
flagrants the message we both would attend

the whooshing air beyond these windows
the night on the other end of earth
who i wonder crawls outside his or her skin

each of us ponders the way others purse
the style of innerness and pain-building
joy-fusting and the constant flash of childhood

memories and we think it's like fish on plates
one eye skyward and wanting to be eaten
and to have it over the way god feels about sex

there is a month remaining and the dogs cry
their tears splash in watery bowls the surface
numbed with hovering grit atoning

for the erotic errors the whole boatload of us
enjoy without the guilt our fates tried to nail
but rather we gaze sometimes into a future

or cupboard where romans bust chains
where christians wrap grimy fingers on tusks
to steer the sweating beasts through starbeds

that future nobodies will name for children
to watch as they tumble listless in dream
the dark the thing the future inside us knows

About the Author

  I was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. I have three children (Anna, Eva and Anthony) and three step-children (Reinier, Hector and Benjamin).  I write books of narrative history; I believe history is most meaningful to us when it manifests itself through individuals in conflict. My books have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards.  I am senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. My interests include the past, the present and the future, not necessarily in that order.  

photo by Keke Keukelaar