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About this Poem 

“This particular poem begins the series, “Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus.” Carmel is a name given to the Virgin Mary; it is also my mother’s name. And I have given my father a mountain’s name: Parnassus. The poem sets the stage—or quite a few stages—for the rest of the series, wherein the speaker attempts to come to understand her parents, ‘falling’ through stages of her memory, beginning here at the opera.”
—Anaïs Duplan

from “Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus”

Let us enter this again. In the context of this paragraph,
we are hurtling backward through space, toward a small
opening: I press my hand to your lip and you bite. You bite
my spine. Ben his jawline was stellar. Ben his curlicue.
His cellphone iPhone. His and everyone’s iPhone, in my hand,
on my lap, at the mezzanine. The opera is going full speed.
The soprano arrives to tell Falstaff, to tell him. I fall
from a great height onto a woman’s head. It splits and I
become the split, standing later for a portrait. The hero
of the town walks alone at night, carrying in his eye a single
feather. He wears this feather in his eye as a kind of penance.
For his bravery many men will die for many years to come

Copyright © 2016 by Anaïs Duplan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 2, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Anaïs Duplan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 2, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Anaïs Duplan

Anaïs Duplan

Anaïs Duplan is the author of Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016).