Late winter gloom. I’m stepping down
an ice-path to the river
like an Incan on his sliver
of Andean terrace (steep, frozen).
Downstream, the dark-eyed Jessie O.
(steamboat captain’s daughter,
was just a child, coming up from below
St. Louis... O Jessie Ophelia...
frescoed on a ceiling in Verona-
by-Neva, maybe (in a dream).
& I, only mere boy,
Longfellow, flaking off the stream...
Your dark water-crossroads, Pawnee-
of Eurydice. School
of Dante’s cinder-journey. Three
ways, all phosphoric (thundering
falls). Only to find
that light Diana-mind
Justinian burrowed, for his high welding –
only the lightest spider-thread
from Colchis dawn will do.
For Juliet. You too,
my child, may skip the tightrope-tread.