Echo and Narcissus

Narcissist, she sees omens everywhere.
                                                           It makes it possible for her to believe in God,
in her marriage, rippling beside her in the Mon.
                                          She counts each cardinal in the trees, each green light
stacked one after the other on Fifth Avenue.
                                    The world wrapped around her like a thicket, like a cave.

But the gods built the cardinals, each tree, each
of these three rivers. And some nights, while
her husband sleeps, she hears
                                                the echo, pulsing through the East End like a siren
only her God-made ears can hear.
                                                                Lean over me, one bank at a time, and see
how you can make this last forever.
Now lean farther.
                                                                                                                           Lean farther.


Rachel Mennies is the author of The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards, winner of the 2013 Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry (Texas Tech University Press, 2014) and the chapbook No Silence in the Fields (Blue Hour Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Mid-American Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere, and has been reprinted at Poetry Daily. She currently teaches in the First-Year Writing Program at Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of AGNI’s editorial staff.