Lanthanum 6.4


To encounter the stranger, to welcome the guest,
to enlarge the circle ‒ a constituent element
of civilization at large ‒ the fundament
of more primordial union. & this was a test

of mettle for many characters, native & settler ‒
all particular tongues & colors, whorled
in clay… into a goldenrod sham Hamlet, moored
in Venice, Tunis. Queequeg's tattoo (vespered,

fluted in Nantucket, scored for ten fingers
with the Sign of Man, whispered
alive again ‒ the skin of his forefathers
saved by the skin of his teeth)… earth-tinctured,

all. Sparse sketches from memory
of prehistory ‒ a time when builders were
delvers, weavers, spider-wise ‒ somewhere
beneath exuberant & bracing armatures ‒ See

through my hand
! wind mutters from the mound.
Midway, mid-continent… magma-lamp
in Maggie's palm ‒ the magisterium (tent-camp
& camel-dome) of deserted garden (Eden, found).

Labyrinth of fingertips. A whorl of star-
embossed flesh ‒ pent Quaker grandmother,
earth-patching grandfather ‒ the dance-patter
of partners in a pattern-wheel (a potter's far-

flung chariot of fire). & your ache
behind the eyelids is a rainbow-streak
of so many spirits round about you : Jake,
Jonah & (tender, tending wing)… hums, wake.


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