John Atkinson

Lucia, Come Home

The moon wears your face tonight.
The whole of Paris, silverspangled, breathes
An air redolent of your perfume. Mama
Sleeps on the divan. She dreams of you: her
Dancing Girl! (We know better. Chambermaids
Dream of butchershops.) Meanwhile, I compose
Silly rhymes to make you laugh: "Lucia, figlia
Di Cassiopeia, how do your ganglia glow?"
You are my patron saint of Light!

A thunderbolt burns hotter than the surface
Of the sun. Fire writhes behind the eyes.
When the bars on your window stripe
The starfield with shadow and your fingers
Stiffen, remember then
Your poor blind Babbo. And do not cry:
A meadow lies always within
Your ken. You have only to murmur "Minerva,
Direct me. Show me the path to my green garden.

Then take up your pen. And as it was with your
"Chaucer's Alphabet," so will it be once more.
You'll paint a picture so bright it
Will reduce that lanklimbed, hankheaded,
Broodybrowed Beckett to a murkpuddle of shame.
(Dr. Jung, for his part, will keel over dead.)
Then you'll be left to sail above us, spilling
Kisses like poker chips
While tipping us, pretty, your eversly wink

But also I know how kisses aren't all you
Sometimes long to loose. The thorn of betrayal
Stings your side. "Let the rootrace be rutted,
Just once!" is your cry. "We'll see how they take
It!" Answer: not well. (I, too, am in that number.
The grocer, the drudge, the scribbler of scribbles
Are all one. The Emperor of Insects yet reigns.)
But your innocence, angel, is disclosed by this fury.
You once bore our true image when, at Xmas
Dinner, you donned the rags of the Little Tramp

Do you recall how your trousers sagged, your
Duck feet waddled? "And how a white rose bloomed
From the corner of your lapel?"