tricksters in the cricket cities


The river sweeps by the bent cottonwoods
toward autumn.  Time
& history resolve to rim
their force into a wave, a wheel.  The goods

bob & drift downstream, with the detritus –
the tomb of Alighieri
& the other desperadi
all the tricksters in the cricket cities (Paris,

Petersburg, St. Paul) fiddling their gusli
merge into a chord
like an infant beechwood
or broken font in Florence – one little tree

of plumb transfigurement, beneath
the arms of a patchwork shepherd
(Sant’ Apollinaire).  One almond
word melds stars into a wreath

to crown that brow (who is Liberty) –
she mutters... You who incite
fools to violence, who delight
in murder & grief, know not Me;

you who terrorize your spouse, & oppress
your neighbor, know not Me;
the blind man can see
what you cannot see, the deaf woman hears

what you cannot hear, the 4-year-old child
knows Me better than you.
So the little tree (a beech, a yew)
marked X the spot (where Psyche smiled).


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