The real is a wilderness
that ambitions calls a garden.

He was young. Youth is a garden posture
even after a winter’s study,
discolored skin
as pored as pumice stone,
voice an arsonist’s meteoric
rise—flock of urgent veering geese.
Driven intention in the face of accident,
comic, intelligent.

His pretensions were a form
of art, combustible
like song.

A democracy was in the voice
although you never said,
I bless this life.

I used to blame myself for being young.
Urging on the Irishman’s parade, I was embarrassed