He said the soil when he was growing up
was so black and sweet
you could spread it on bread.
And Latin, he said, Oh Latin was good.
Semi-precious and cool to the touch
like jade or turquoise.
When they made him address the Lord of Hosts in English
the conversation was brief and fitful.
Empty as small talk at the barber’s.
When he was young, and even when he grew old,
to lie next to his wife in bed
was to recline in a sunlit valley after long running,
amid slopes fragrant of summer and marjoram.
He was a very old man
in a brown cardigan sewn at odd corners.