Siena-town wheels inward on itself,
inseminate with signs. Flutter of flag-
sisters in a ring (around the phallic
Mangia, swelling Campo, Fontegaia).

What's the source of all this muttering
and thundering? They hunt the lost Diana
River, rippling somewhere beneath the brouhaha.
They reach for the silk concealing her tippling

utterance. The Virgin saved them, once
(at Montaperti, in 1260). Now (nine times
90 years after) they burble the same
nursery rhymes - the world a microcosmos

in a horserace, history a folksong
of parochial abuse (carols and catcalls,
bridle deals). There are many protocols
flickering under Fortune's ping-pong

table (prong, sarong) - you'll learn them all
in order to become a man
. Only that dusty
widow-nun, shuffling so pigeon-footed (steely-
rimmed) mimes awkward exception to the rule.

Or the half-wit in the corner, self-conscious
beneath his crumpled horn - he'll take the fall
gently, for everyone, for a laugh (perpetual
motion winding down). All part of the sensuous

wave goodby, children. Sweet nothings
we've forgotten, baubles and toy
soldiers, the vagrant sweep and sway
of oak tree limbs. The sigh in the grass.

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