All the Tongues of Babel

                    i. Cerca trova—

                                        More is hidden than is seen
crib-death’s fangs incapable
of eating through heaven’s gates
                    or peripatetic spleens
          Cain’s own children fabled by

                                        fate to make of myth a sin
of a death of a kind some
reason or another for
                    continuing existing
          slurs of cursèd words turning

                                        all the tongues of Babel more
insistent than reverent
in their imperfect whispers
                    perversions raw lips perform
          as a service for men whose

                    ii. se non è vero,

                                        own births wars have worn from them
as wind and breath scorch exiled
earth from distant oasis
                    to ash thirsting memory’s
          mournful flourish rakes up as

                                        kohl pornographers and their
apprentices use to bruise
already-wounded minds’-eyes
                    tears transmuting to ink scenes
          burned into the thoughts of those

                                        for whom thinking is a thing
as ob(li)viating as
being ignored by their herd
                    is humiliating, song
          of swords drawing lies to sand

                    iii. è ben trovato.

                                        silence surrounds, broken oaths
opening like lions’ mouths
never-hallowed ground, no more
                    truth to it than low-hanging
          fruit’s, food the shallow demand

                                        this is a martyr’s tomb, that
desolate mound the Desert
Fathers found better-suited
                    with its withered fistfuls of
          wisdom to destroy the might

                                        of princes, invincible
jaws of caves swallowing in
a single breath all their names
                    echoes liberating from souls
          what no other hole will say.