We came and left by train and I, used to flying,
felt like a thief sneaking into Prague, late in our first Spring,
weighted with expectation, light with wanderlust.
The city is culled from ancient copperplate, a lithograph.
Our photographs played shell games
with someone else's castles.
In Joseph's Town the stippled cobblestone cast our shadows askew:
stenciled and graven at twilight, two ghosts against the wall
falling through each other.
Along the Vtlava I followed you, dropping korunas into the black
of the river, nacreous and penumbral, it snaked into my heart,
side-winding. I cried, hearing Heraclitus.
That night I made up words in Czech that said I love --
the ictus wrong, rhythm wrong, your answer in an equally foreign tongue.
Next day we slept on the tour bus.
The day after, you and Kafka formed a friendship without me,
but later you got taken on Wenceslas Square,
your handsome fists full of worthless Polish somethings.
You shook off my sympathy like a beggar's hand
but brought me flowers while I slept, which I left when we left,
imagining a lingering brightness
in an ordinary room
on a small corner table.