Lanthanum 9.14

i.m. John H. ("Jack") Birss

After much falsework – skittering expenses
in a waste of swaying bucks – Marwan (cinnamon
cat with greenfire eyes) will arch his tendons
through the cunning rug. All’s in play (fearless)

at last. While Diego hunches up the cloudy steps
with shifting temblor on his back – an al fresco
infancy. Fat babies, mild-eyed povero...
Guadalupe-sombrero... so homeliest precepts

prove most beautiful (what’s mine is yours).
But not from nowhere, their swift circular –
great was the public company self-anchored
there, on hinge pipe beam, deadmen, girders

2047 feet from shore to shore (saddled
with sacrificial sections of weakened steel).
It was 28 young braves, lifting centripetal
lightbeams – a pendant, bending self-addled

streams toward soldered reunion (unseen
yet feathered silver, with a yellow crown).
& a 29th bather in ark of oak – unknown
& apostolic turtledove’s ecumenical grain –

her sea-salt shanty’s banked in a riverbed.
Come with me then, down to the water’s edge
where shells glissade from willow-branches
& drafty lyres are granaries (seven-tiered

with light). Where fathers yodel in Mendelssohn
& a 5th of Sibelius, in stately waltz, swings low
her catenary iron ribs. Where birchbark rows
into aurora borealis... (harp-wrung Magdalen).


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