At eight I tunnel through sunflower fields
fighting enchanted sleep. Mosquito spray and
sunscreen mix tastes on my lip.
I find the hot sun
again
without spying the long-lost princess,
but I can't be sure:
maybe I just missed her

The mandrake crouches hidden in the neighbour's flax.

                                    *******

At twelve a poplar tree hunches epic
proportions and windbreak shoulders
a quarter-mile
from my house. My cousin climbs partway; I
make it nearly to the top. I swear
I'm higher than my house,
higher even than the grain elevator...
she calls up to me, but I can't describe it.
It is
the farthest I've ever seen

From a submarine, surfaced, a sight to the horizon is unreliable.

                                    *******

At twenty-three I find SPQR stamped
prominently on a stiff-necked wall:
guardian of Vatican City.
Its runic numerals erode
angles deep into distant times.
Later, I step
on another SPQR stamp, forged
in sewer-grate steel

Senatus Populusque Romanus: The Senate and the People of Rome

                                    *******

"In 1508, by Pope Julius II della Rovere's
commission, Michelangelo Buonarroti
begins painting ceilings.
The Cappella Sistina is rectangular in shape and measures
40.93 meters long by 13.41 meters wide:
exact dimensions of the Temple of Solomon
as described
in Old Testament lore"

One million guidebooks burst into confetti as God's finger finally reaches Adam...

                                    *******

At twenty-four I find Pompeii
one-thousand-nine-hundred and thirty-seven years
too late--
digital camera batteries expiring
in less time
than it took 20,000 people to realize something was
very wrong

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