For Ben Z. by Chris Schlegel


What you have risked, I too,
but haply I, unhaply you.


The magister in Mandalay—short, souverain and saintly—
will offer each the martinets a Martinican floret, and bouquets of lime.

They are drying and drying faintly, the bouquets of mint and lime.


Vary does the dolor but the laughter pricks forever after,
loquor, ego loquor, meo voce atque spiritu.

Safe is the malingerer, and dafter. An ailing man is safer. 
Loquor, ego loquor, meo voce atque spiritu.


Do you love me, brother,
love under the pitch and pother
the draff of me? Or

are you loving-dust and I a bother,
a blatherer: knowing you worry there, and begging you hither?


Wroth the rose the light’s forsaken, 
light and lighter dart the hares,
I am by the post you placed, with counting-books about me and a jug of beer.

Harried are the drakes, their sleekness
rare though I expect their sleekness,

near the Dorset briar with my counting-books and beer.