After a Line by Montaigne


Because the Renaissance is a house whose rafters
are stenciled in Latin, and the ribs of a dolphin
lace with kelp, easy to build little romances,
little aches to hold the story in place:
how I loved him because it was he,
because it was I, trees cupping the sky
like Montaigne’s room lit by firelight,
but truer to say I thought love would save me
from that teenage midland no one believes
will end—K-mart cutoffs and filigreed rings—
but it ends, 1992 far gone enough to be
the vanishing point erased after all other lines
are drawn. Isn’t it better the story frayed
before the boy named for an apostle
turned a gun on that motherless wind?
A throat holds as much song as you let it.
The span between a bird’s wings the same as a fist.

Karen Rigby