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 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’s release into the sea’s green light
3. In which the Golden Encyclopedia supplies an illustration
My fifth summer, our neighbor was startled by a flower,
a volunteer, she said, growing like a fable in her side-garden,
a kind of columbine with purple spurs and pistils, and when
she called me over to show me, I told her I had seen it
in my encyclopedia. Fetched the book from home, opened it
to its simple sketch meant for a child—Very like, she said,
very like, propping the page beside the glorious bloom.
Grown thing and made thing, held, beheld together.