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Loss of Soul

by Deborah Pease

Poor Narcissus.
He’s so old-fashioned.
He drowned while gazing at his image
So he’s not here
To see his successor, Post-Narcissus.

Post-Narcissus is beyond narcissism.
At least Narcissus was a person
Of sorts, loved unrequitedly by Echo
The nymph who punished him.
Post-Narcissus is an image
Admiring its image.

Post-Narcissus cannot drown—
It evaporates
In the dried-up pool:
The fate of arid souls.

Narcissus never knew
Emily Dickinson.
Post-Narcissus tries
To destroy her.


Deborah Pease was the publisher of The Paris Review from 1982 to 1992. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The North American Review, The Antioch Review, and many other periodicals. She has two collections of poetry recently published by the Puckerbrush Press. (1993)

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