"Love Letters From Pompeii" - Elsa Russo




"Love Letters From Pompeii" - Elsa Russo


I lost you in Pompeii
When the air caught on fire
Your hand was ripped from mine
I thought I had caught it again
Imagine my fright when I turned and didn’t see you
But just some other frightened soul
I tried to turn back
I promise, I tried to turn back
But like a fish trying to swim against the current
I was battered and bruised and burned
Finally so weak that I had no choice


The next morning I went to look for you
I swear, I went to look for you
The bodies of those on the ground so mangled and burned
Any one of them could have been you
I traced our steps back to where your hand lost mine
It seems you only made it another two steps


I saw you again across the dinner table
Of a party I was at
You were a slave pouring the wine
And I was a Roman general
Someone tore your skirt
And I flew across the table in a rage
I didn’t mean to frighten you
On my honor, I didn’t mean to frighten you
But I did
My subordinates staring at me confused
As I took the jug and poured their wine so you could mend your clothes


I saw you as we rode away
Peering through the window
I thought I saw you recognize me
For a moment, I thought you recognized me
But you turned away
The moment gone
I rode out for Jerusalem


I thought I found you again
On the pilgrimage roads to Lhasa
We walked three days together
We ate and drank and prayed together
You laughed at my singing
And you held my hand like you used to
I thought I had found you
By the stars above, I thought I had found you
Until I saw you
Walking out of the city
As I walked in


You saw me for a moment
You saw the hand in mine
You smiled
I think you smiled
And walked past me
And the one who would be my wife


I finally found you again
As my ship sailed the Red Sea
In pursuit of Mecca
To destroy it
I saw you at the helm of the Muslim ship
I saw you at the helm of the Muslim ship
And you saw me
And you saw me


I looked up from the executioner’s block
You had tears in your eyes
And I whispered to you not to cry
Please, don’t cry
I’ll find you again
Next time around


I started seeing you everywhere after that


You were the first to die of the plague in our village
As I leaned over you in a long-beaked mask
You collapsed on the ground in Strasbourg
As I sawed away at my violin
You grabbed my hand by accident
As London burned around us
Caught in the fire and smoke
We looked just as we once had
A millenia and a half ago now


You shot me in the head
When we tried to invade Russia
(I’ll forgive you that one because of the snow)
You shot me on the barbed wire
As I climbed out of my trench
(I won’t forgive you that one because we played soccer the day before)
You leaned over my cot
When you and your men liberated our camp
(This time I’m only sorry that all you found was a shell of what I once was)


I haven’t found you this time
36 years hasn’t been enough time to find you
And no, I haven’t searched every holy site
And no, I haven’t visited every battlefield
And no, I haven’t gone to whatever place it is that I need to go to find you
We have appeared in so many places now
I have no clue where you will be
Or where I should be


So this is an sos
A radio call
Tapped out across the airwaves
In some kind of mad desperation
Where the hell are you?
Where should I look for you?
Because I am dying to find you
By all the gods above, I am dying to find you
Because it is getting cold out here


And I don’t want you to find me too late

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