Dante’s Politics

The decorative mosaic adorning the ancient synagogue floor

is innocent of its future. Good luck, it means to say, or


my swastika hands miming perpetual motion wish you

everlasting peace and prosperity. And what coincidence


sends my son running across the plaza, blowing again

and again on his precious pinwheel toy? Say what you mean,


I want to shout. I am listening to the politicians

in the courtyard, excavating for small truths buried


beneath thick stratum of tedious lies. And when I am dust

who will interpret these few odd poems addressed


to family and friends? When I am gone who will explain

Dante’s politics to my child? Exiled during the war


of the Blacks and the Whites, did his writings

favor empire or church? Sometimes I forget


even my own lust for small temporary power. Good luck.

is my wish for my son who briefly holds his breath


as if contemplating his future, and the pinwheel of words

he will spin into the world to disguise or uncover his meanings.


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