He started out a favored son of Florence,
Most bellicose among Love’s devotees.
An arrow early barbed his boyish ease.
The mythic monsters of his own abhorrence
And love swallowed him, spat him out. Adherents
Of papal power and the Fleur-de-lis
Seized all except a sieve of memories
He’d use to strain existence from appearance.
Exile was his stability: the salt
Of others’ bread, his beggar’s role, the cares
He cauterized and bandaged phrase by phrase.
In lieu of pilgrimage he spent his days
Ascending and descending others’ stairs,
As if in restless search of grace in fault.
Alabama Literary Review (Winter 2018)