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Amongst the Cares

by Jordan Rice

It was spring in the Vatican, and uneasy
were the men who waited in the dim
and marbled room for the voice of the castrato.

The phonograph looked like an instrument
of confession, a torturer’s tool, or a crippled demon,
the stylus a hissing tongue in the turning canister,

recording everything. Later, I played the Ave
for an unlaced woman who lay beneath me. That room
and we in it, were real, in a time before anything

was permanent. Afterwards she scoured her thighs
with handfuls of dried grass, discarding them clutch by clutch
at the roadside. To think of her or what became of her

is useless. I took the song. It is permanent,
witnessed to be unwound from the coiled grooves.


Jordan Rice is the author of the Constellarium (Orison Books, 2016), a 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award finalist. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Times, Colorado Review, The Feminist Wire, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. Her work has been selected for the Indiana Review Poetry Prize, the Richard Peterson Poetry Prize from Crab Orchard Review, the Gulf Coast Prize in Poetry, and the Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry from Harpur Palate. Rice is an executive section editor of Dublin Poetry Review. (published 9/2008, bio updated 2/2017)

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