The New Alexandria

by Sonya Taaffe

I want this new Alexandria. I want to light these candles and chant across the divide of weeks while my neighbor on one side pours a little beer into a saucer for the red desert wind and the resin-black jackal and on the other mixes honey, wine, white barley for the honored lord below and his petal-pale wife. I want to put out salt and violets for dead ancestors on their yahrzeits. I want to guise in red ribbons for the feast of vines. I want the sun on the thorns, monuments no difference of language can break, seventy angels with peacock-eyed wings. I want to be a palmer through tidal reeds and olive groves. I want to raise masses to nine nights hanged on the ash. I want saint’s days and skeptics, quarter-years and lunar calendars, I want commentaries in a hundred different hands. I want unimaginable syntheses. I want small mosses between the bricks, the latest angle of northern sunlight, someone playing a clarinet imperfectly, out of sight. I want to sign a wedding contract with a name-seal. I want to be buried in the bellies of crows. I want each night to see the lighthouse blazing until we find our different ways home—I want to see it blaze another thousand years, the millennium finally, ordinarily come.


Sonya Taaffe has a confirmed addiction to myth, folklore, and dead languages. Poems and short stories of hers have won the Rhysling Award, been shortlisted for the SLF Fountain Award and the Dwarf Stars Award, and been reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, The Best of Not One of Us, Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2006, Best New Romantic Fantasy 2, and You Have Time for This: Contemporary American Short-Short Stories. A respectable amount of her work can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books). She holds master’s degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale.

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One Response to "The New Alexandria"

  • Oh yes. Yes, those are things to wish for, for sure.

    1 Asakiyume said this (April 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm)