The night is clear. Stars of the northern skies
fly overhead like millions of mayflies
or star-nosed moles. Fenian pokes his nose
in every alpha marking in the snows,
and Stephen Edgar, walking, takes a fall, a small catastrophe, he is so tall.
I hoist him to his feet and brush the snow
from dustcoats. It is thirty-three below.
I limp him in and park him by the fire,
pour him a brandy and put on a choir.
Of course all of this happened in a dream.
Eight thousand miles are not all that they seem.
How did you start, Stephen? With Dylan Thomas? Who was the wellspring of your poet’s promise? Was it a woman? Was it a buttoned bodice
when fumbling fingers first essayed the goddess? Promise me this. After our race is run,
you’ll introduce me to your friend, John Donne.
Fargo, North Dakota