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


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