“Princess, the poem is born & you have woken,
A world’s undone.”

-Hayden Carruth
But this unraveling as though Eden
Had shifted so far to the south
That even her birds were lost
And could not go home.
We waited there, deeply
In a place growing shallow.
We waited until the sky
Turned indigo
And the rivers wound
Hungrily, like serpents over dry ground.
Whatever they say,
We will know what was truth
And what was merely rumor.
… here was Eden, unmapped
And overcrowded with explorers,
misfits and faithless lovers.
There, across the way sat

The handsome Italian boy,
Waiting for his wings,
Afraid the feathers would be black,
Not pure white
Like the dove of peace
Whom the nuns had described,
Or pale as the dough of star bread
Or his sister’s communion dress
Before she’d discovered boys.

And there was Dante, drunk
On black wine, a tired lily
In his pocket
For Beatrice.

And so we moved on,
Toward the City of Silents,
And here we could not speak.
Every open mouth, as though
Singing, made no sound.

We discovered
In the ashen
Underground of Hell,
(Formerly Eden,)
every tempted
And tempter expelled
By a cruciform orchestration from above.

We discovered
We are, one and all,
Saved by love.