From the Collected Works

One page escaped the manuscript

on its way to the printers,

slipped between desk and wall,

stayed concealed like a hermit

who hides from unfriendly regimes

in Siberian wilds; or like

those pockets of Japanese troops

holed up in the jungle unaware that war

is over, only know they must wait

among banyans, ginger flowers and vines,

hoard the last grains of rice, live off

peculiar roots, keep bayonets sharp.

The poem hid in its niche years after

the rest were lauded or discarded....

Tonight it shows up, smudged and frayed,

accustomed to silence as a recluse

snowed in for months in a shack,

who when company comes bursts forth

in dialect antique as that

seventeenth-century English preserved

in remote Appalachian valleys:

familiar but antiquated, odd.

Still, one welcomes the prodigal

back to the fold.

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