1. In which the Opies’ Lore and Language of Schoolchildren provides context
What travels with us still, what knows no borders.
These schoolyard charms and chants, our voices falling
Into born and borrowed patterns, tracing their lines.
On my son’s nightstand a plaster cast of a wolf print,
abacus of stones and feathers circling his lamp, ballast
and flight counting his lost addresses. What fills
what is missing. Bloodstone chip in a wooden box,
flaked mirrors of mica mailed to his distant father,
glittered envelope of dust at the other end. Not enough,
say the Opies, to merely find a lucky object. One must
go through certain prescribed motions, such as step on it, threaten
it, spit on it, implore of it. Very often give it away.
2. In which E. M. Forster acts as a hinge
Few things have been more beautiful than my notebook as it fell
downward through the waters of the Mediterranean.
Paper wings, the ink lifting into the sea’s green light
3. In which the Golden Encyclopedia supplies an illustration
When I was five, our neighbor was startled by a flower,
growing like a fable in her side-garden, unbidden,
exotic, a kind of columbine, purple spurs and pistils, and when
she called me over to show me, I told her I recognized it
from my encyclopedia. I ran home to bring back to show her.
And there it was, a drawing—very like she said,
holding the open page beside the bloom. Grown thing
and made thing. Our eyes held them together.