V.30

The gateposts flutter with sonnets
in rich florentine hands. The work
of sculptor and vile abuser
Benvenuto Cellini stands

in his walled garden, unfinished.
Dukes and Duchesses pay handsome
fees to see it done. In the shop
the cracked furnace bears stigmata

of bronze. And a stray cat stares at
you, the reader of this poem.
Its eyes are black and you shiver,
looking up at the cinder hole

in the roof where hastily rigged
boards let rain fall on the steaming
ash pile, the dark droplets of bronze.
What are you doing in Florence

during the renaissance? and how
did you come to be in this hall
of works? Nobody knows. A girl
stops and waits in the cold doorway.

Without a word you both agree.
In the garden, the nieces watch
the statue grow white hot and melt.
“Medusa!” they say. “Medusa”

On Ulysses

The voices are everywhere. There
They are crawling from the dead
Floater in the bay and taking flight.

The wet walls and eaves are speaking
Can you not hear them – again, it’s happening;
Damp mortar discourses on ibn sinna.

Each wave is its own word
And they pile upon pile upon pile –
we drown in the snotgreen sea

Where a deep priest and thousand-fold choir
Speak tongues to discourage the wanderer
unwilling to take a breath and stay.