Lanthanum 3.3


That river of milk, that torrent out of Africa.
A royal stream, through infinite sand. Up Nile
to Memphis delta, mapped like some Old Faithful
(or a brainstem beech). And that Moses-fella,

lifting Pharaoh's serpent-rod against itself
on behalf of the slaves (home folk). Stand
of the common law – say, Coke against Bacon
(that Crown man's bland yet supercilious craft)

for rights of Englishmen (trailing back
and back to the shepherd's shack. . . the local
plowman's heavy bullock's heart). And withal,
Blackstone. Williams. Pungent square-root

(stalk of dusty mint). O the infant whisper
of those meticulous sapphire spheres! Silence
rounds the word with knotted wool (deep, dense).
Love's entrance, lighter than linden-leaf (there,

there... my child, my dear). & if I were C├ęzanne
I would sketch those interlacing needle-swords
of pine branches, across the street – beside
the old Episcopalian (Tudor-style) church. Then

outline my clumsy figure of a man. On a balcony,
in Memphis, one gray morning (near Palm Sunday).
Yesterday. Only the final rude display
of evil-hearted impotence. To take away

our Prince, with violence? You cannot take away
the orbiting bridegroom, beaming bride (they
have shaken the dust from their feet). O Milky
Way... light, light. Time's wedding day.