for Jon Persio
I have hidden myself in the romance
between brights and shadows, conquered
an anthill, evicted even the fifth column
of my own ants who found a natural
kinship there. It is not that I care
if I have a permit to do this. Well,
I care a little, but this hill is mine.
Tomorrow may bring someone else
seizing it and punctually deporting me,
but for now, I am the minor league monk,
the abbot of incandescent minutiae.
The roll call is easiest when it’s just me,
though I welcome visits, even find
dreaming impossible without them.
For at least this season, I’ll keep watch
here, whether it lasts a reasonable stay
or one lengthy beyond mercy. This cloister
without a walk, this hiddenness that shouts
to those who know me, and keeps a hush
with strangers, this portable, well-guarded
leap day that outfoxes all calendars
wishing to pin it down, this tenure
without location or school, this home
base that stands apart from the heart
asks for everyone’s patience if not
their patronage. May I be of service
even from a distance, may I light
a candle for all brothers as well as for
myself, may we sip, alone and together
from the stream that is this verse where
we ever alight, ever tend, ever fish.
This shelter is my hope if not my home.