Amores I:12

Weep with me for my hard luck: my girlfriend’s answer came back, “No.” Her wretched message denies she can see me today.

I should’ve known from the omens. When Nape turned to leave the house with my request, she stubbed her toe on the lintel. Girl, the next time you’re sent out, remember to cross the lintel carefully and take high, dignified steps. 

As for you, surly tablet–get out of my sight! Your wood panels are suitable for a funeral pyre and your wax is filled with words of denial, wax which I think bees on ill-famed Corsica collected from the flowers of the tall hemlock. You blush as though you’d been dyed with vermilion, and this color proved truly bloody. May you be thrown down at a crossroads, useless tablet, where the wheels of passing wagons will smash you to bits!

The man who turned you from a tree into a writing tablet must have been a criminal. That tree had displayed men by their miserable necks; that tree had supplied executioners with their grim crosses. This tree shaded hooting owls; its branches bore the weight of vultures and the nests of screech-owls.

Was I mad to have committed our love and my gentle words to my mistress to such a tablet? Better should this wax have been used for a bail application which some grim-faced assessor would read, or it could’ve lain among the daily accounts and the profit and loss statements over which the greedy merchant grieves.

I realize now that you’re not just a two-leaf notebook but a two-faced one, for two is not a number of good omen. I can do nothing in my anger but pray that old age gnaws you with woodworm and that your white wax may end in an ash heap.

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