[The sunset-red boy]

The sunset-red boy in his little canoe

can only cast his line out so far

 

as his father stands grimacing

on an opposite island: an aging man 

 

in Crete who spat at me once, 

then peered into his little salty pool

 

with contempt that I turned my head away from—

if only to find the next blind peasant

 

lonely with his stories of St. Anthony

 

(he overheard them from the nuns

who passed through the island like clouds last July) 

 

and his open palms, expecting me 

 

to hand him the visible sun 

like a hot coin from his youth

 

spent wandering into and out of cathedrals

and brothels, not understanding 

 

the tombs he was kissing

or the marble faces

 

that watched him pleasantly 

in his boyhood sleep,

 

humming quietly to themselves 

about the price of light in the current market,

 

where the man who sells grapes 

charges one-euro-eighty for every basket

 

and leaves their seeds to float in the sea

like miniature boats towards Alexandria.