ISSUE EIGHT
August 1999

Peter Covino

Peter Covino   This marks an author's first appearance in an online magazinePeter Covino was born in Italy and educated there and in the States—where he earned an M.S. from Columbia University. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in several journals including, The Paris Review, Verse, Press, The Journal and The Metropolitan Review. He is one of the founding editors of the poetry journal Barrow Street

At the Museo Barberini   Click to hear in real audio


There are no others
in the painting
only Judith and Holofernes
and I am accustomed
to disappearing in allegory,

to hiding in the confines
of details. I am safer
here, standing in this gallery,
watching decapitations
and helplessness.

I will not be drawn in
by her billowing robes,
that wild mangle of folds
conceals a jagged sheath.
I have not yet mastered

the tricks of illusion;
perspective is always formed
at the vanishing point.
And I can be so easily betrayed:
she in all her fierce courage,

he of the familiar scowl—
These jealousies overwhelm me
at the most inopportune moments,
and I cannot say for sure
whose severed head she holds.

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Peter Covino: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue EightThe Cortland Review