A Roman Garden

Last night I dreamed again I was his son
     (searching always for fathers, orphan of sleep),
then woke to hear hooded crows in the rain
     whose raucous cries reverberated deep
within the garden and its citrus grove
     laden with chill and pebble-rinded fruit.
He who is not my father does not move,
     but waits; far from here, he could speak, but does not.
Some lamps to light the dark of where he is:
     my hand reached out. But then the eyeless bald
ivory skull and gleaming nightmare feathers
     mocked me. I could bring nothing to the world.
The crows flew off beyond my furthest thought,
as citrus cast its heavy perfumed light.

Karl Kirchwey’s most recent collection is Mount Lebanon (2011). He is currently the arts director for the American Academy in Rome.
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