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Published: Fri Oct 15 1993
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
Loss of Soul

Poor Narcissus.
He’s so old-fashioned.
He drowned while gazing at his image
So he’s not here
To see his successor, Post-Narcissus.

Post-Narcissus is beyond narcissism.
At least Narcissus was a person
Of sorts, loved unrequitedly by Echo
The nymph who punished him.
Post-Narcissus is an image

Admiring its image.
Post-Narcissus cannot drown—
It evaporates
In the dried-up pool:
The fate of arid souls.

Narcissus never knew
Emily Dickinson.
Post-Narcissus tries
To destroy her.

See what's inside AGNI 38

Deborah Pease is the author of a novel, Real Life (W.W. Norton, 1971), and Another Ghost in the Doorway: Collected Poems (Moyer Bell, 1999). Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines, including ParnassusDenver QuarterlyAGNIThe Paris ReviewThe New Yorker, and Notre Dame Review. From 1982 to 1992 she was publisher of The Paris Review. (updated 4/2009)

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