Lanthanum 2.10


This was your town; your mother's buried here.
And every town's like every other town
in its unlikeness. Strange root of your own
soul, in solitude. Utter loneliness. The pioneer

of your own life. Amid infinite, intricate depths
of an inland sea – where flowers grow,
Grandfather listened to Puccini (RCA
Victor). Wrote to his cousin, on the steppes

of Nebraska (long ago, across the wide prairie).
And all of these things disappear toward evening
going to join your mother there (it's snowing
in Swan Point tonight). A heavy mystery.

Like that hieroglyphic Founder fixed on the terrace
I want to lay the hidden limestone cornerstone.
I want to build the wall of a lasting Zion-
replica, another city on a hill (your emerald necklace,

evergreen). What he meant by liberty
when he named it Providence (peace, security
– born out of fairness, kindness). Solidarity.
Civilization (planted, rooted – fed with equality).

We're all caught up in this same snow that falls,
shaping inimitable patterns on the forlorn streets
(the waiting streets). Those ancient fleets
that sailed across a Black Sea rimmed with exiles

saw the same stars hang like heavy candelabras
overhead. And that woman in the graveyard,
near the massive stone rolled back, whispered
the same word that your mother spoke. (Rabbi...)