I rode my bike across the Argentine.
Marble arms raised for joy in the garden,
a slush of sculpture salvaged from wrecked ships
around Don d’Carlo’s sandstone pen
carved from a boulder fallen from that cliff.
When I was a nude Sicilian youth, and had been
lounging on the piazza for a good hour,
above the sea, I heard a cry from the beach
and ran. A seal pup lay curled around
a stone. Someone–my brothers?–had beat it
senseless, so I heaved the sack of fur
back to surf, the body cooling my body,
and swam some yards until it sank to green.
Back up the steps, I dried on the wall
fell to sleep forgot the beast and grew
athletic and kept my tongue back of my head
obeyed the trainer loved a girl she climbed
a tree beside the training yard to whisper
my secret names from the arbor. War grew
as we slept. I fled across the sea
to escape conjecture; I biked all over
to build a body of forgiveness, the wheels
wearing down a new world of old roads.
I rode across the Argentine, my spokes
speaking for me, to the house of a friend:
I swam in the sea there, among the mangled steel.
A lost flotilla, the hemisphere
tapped in my ear, the ticking of whales
the warnings of sand. And when I drowned
I sank slowly and meant every fathom.