My mendicant, caught between two seas
with the world at your elbow for a begging bowl,
brighter than coins your hair, a silken net
to snare my heart; four teeth are more than pearls,
and sursum corda in the crowing mouth
babbles my bliss. All summer long my bird
hangs on my gaze his dazzling eye, my nest
of kisses in a thornless tree. I wish
by every star, Orion, the Pleiades,
two centaurs guarding the Cross, by all spells,
by incantation, to keep from harm my thief,
my little dancer on the tightrope of time.
And yet I know he will prick his finger, the spindle
fall in the well, the impenetrable hedge grow up
like a wall between him and his desire.
The fairy by the cot one day forgets
the luckless godchild with the tarnished spoon.
© Mary Stanley