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A Sentence from Tacitus

by Daniel Lin

Peace is merely

An assumption of
Fortunes, states, and dearly
Bought ways to companionship or love.
Merely assumptive in, yes,
A pejorative sense.
The smoldering present tense
Is too elusive to bless.
The desolation left behind
Breeds grim anecdotes.
Tomorrow’s planned kind—
nesses, half and quarter notes
In a refined style
Of moral composition, claim
A silent pride, a discordant shame.
The assumed dead rest in a pile
After the decisive operations
Of animal dispassion.
Grounded, our elations
And attitudes turn ashen
This fire-scarred hour.
The night sky is torn by burning rods
Launched by lesser gods
Of merciless power.


Daniel Lin has published poems in Verse, Washington Square, Good Foot, and Manhattan Literary Review, as well as letterpress broadsides with Opal Press and The Center for Book Arts. He was a New York Times Fellow in NYU's graduate writing program and a Tennessee Williams Scholar at Sewanee Writers' Conference. (12/2003.)

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