Web Feet
{A Bumbershoot Special Feature}

Laura Hershey

is a Colorado-based poet, writer, and activist. Among her poetry credits are Calyx, Chest JournalShakespeare’s Monkey Review, Trillium Literary Journal, and the anthology Fire in the Soul: 100 Poems for Human Rights.

She is also a widely published essayist.

Her semi-regular blog and links to her other writings can be found at her website.

—Back to Bumbershoot Contents—

Licinius (An adaptation of Gaius Valerius Catullus’ Poem #50)

Yesterday, LicMan19, while our boss was away,
I instant messaged you all afternoon, and you
texted me back from your cubicle, shirking our work.
Verses took shape on our screens, as we each added
lines, taking turns, switching meters and fonts as we typed
lines overlapping, both laughing as if we were
drunk. When our boss saw our sloth and distraction, she roared,
livid, and sent us home. Oh, how I miss you, oh,
LicMan19, and your lively and beautiful words.
Eating my dinner alone left me hungry, and
lying alone left me tired but unable to sleep.
All through the night, in my lust inconsolable,
yearning, half-dreaming, I kept checking e-mail in hopes
you would be there, sharing half-dreams of me, every
time disappointed to find only spam. Now I’m wrecked,
thrashed by fatigue, almost dead in my bed. With this
last ounce of vigor, I write you this poem, to express
all that I feel: new desire, and surprise and, yes,
love. Now you know of my ardor, and you must hit reply.
What if you don’t? Well, let’s see. You remember the
day you skipped work and I covered? I’ll tell the big boss.
You’ll be in trouble, my darling, and lots of it!

Laura dedicates this poem to the memory of Aino Paasonen,
beloved teacher of the art of translation and adaptation