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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.

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