— for Thom Salmon
Mnemosyne upreared amid atrocity concurs:
this looking backward is a not so accidental
death and dismemberment policy after all,
appended to one’s life and health; however,
squat caryatids, resentful though proud,
agree that, whether a bequest or metaphor
(those fixed, equivocating lions), history
is more than books and books of big stuff and
(roaring leonisimus or sleeping as you pass)
requires no notice in advance to change the plan.
Believe me, there are times, semblable,
when such rays are visible slanting through
our covenants and riders that a calendar
might just as well, for all the useless fear
it tries to ease with seasonal photos, be
that grove of birches, each benignly slashed to
individuality by no one, it depicts so earnestly.
You never know. You can’t. But you may trust
it fits together, boy, without a physical exam,
harmoniously, though all seems otherwise,
and no one has ever been denied. Call now.