: Narcissus and Echo :

an excerpt by Valerie Wohlfeld


The water had no pulse until his pulse.

Sudden stammer summoned: vowels

like the sparrow’s lost muse.  Narcissus

holding in his arms his reflection in the pool.


Image to image he floated on the water.

Too much beauty becomes another death.

Between mimic and music his bloodless slaughter.

Little chill kiss to fix the kill—no dread


sinking face-down drowned among the lilies.

Soon he turned to pollen and petal for the wind.

A shadow on the rocks still replies,

come, come, here, here: like a widow


or a sparrow she pined and sang her verse.

The water had no pulse until his pulse.