From Jonathan Wells, courtesy of the New Yorker.
The Man With Many Pens
With one he wrote a number so beautiful
it lasted forever in the legends of numbers. With another
he described the martyrs’ feet as they marched
past the weeping stones and cypresses, watched
by their fathers. He used one as a silver wand to lift
a trout from its spawning bed to more fruitful waters
and set it back down, its mouth facing upstream.
He wrote Time has no other river but this one in us,
no other use but this turn in us from mountain lakes
of late desires to confusions passed through
with every gate open. Let’s not say he didn’t take us
with him in the long current of his letters, his calligraphy
and craft, moving from port to port, his hand stopping
near his heart, the hand that smudged and graced the page,
asking, asking, his fingers a beggar’s lucent black,
for the word that gave each of us away.