Take this down: if your smeared fist grows weary
of the pen; if your eyes blear every jot
in your syllabary; if some cheery
despot breaks your thumbs, upsets your inkpots,

then come unto me. I’ll be Baruch,
and you be Jeremiah: I’ll incise,
on bone and bark and hide, the pentateuchs
pent in your tongue, and not a one revise.

I’ll be the Revelator; you dictate
speech that angles like an angel’s dagger.
Or your grocery list: I’ll sear it in a plate
of milk and feed a spangling tiger.

Your prophecy, your trivia, your ken:
though a knavish king burn it line by line,
bring another scroll: I’ll script it whole again.
Bring me anything at all—rain-shine,

chipmunk-stripe, lily-blade, monarch-wing.
Tell me how you love the world. I won’t change a thing.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Pin It on Pinterest