Come before winter
for the peacock to birth-cry spring
or fallen grapes to raisin on the sand
when another will have been lowered
into dirt-damp through the hole
in this ceiling
you won’t find me.
Bring my coat
of brine snow and yellow dust
with books quill and parchment
for my faith has scratched praise
on every liberty these walls yield;
a little bread to dip in the wind scent
when it hosts thrush-breast swine-roast
and truffles that down-drift cooling
from the tables of the wreathed
to where this falling sparrow
might be tempted to peck
a last crumb feast.
step from the sea
to travel the Appian Way;
passing my memory
of cypress and random elm
walk prayerfully over catacombs.
On arrival here denarius the guard
this will busy him for one day.
Don’t sympathy my tatters
but look to my eyes –
see them shine like a father’s
at return of a son.
Yes come. Come before winter.