As you grow older, and are pushed to the margin,
you begin to realize that everything is not about you,
and that is the beginning of freedom. –Germaine Greer
The text is fixed: it’s about
God, or someone’s philosophy,
the history of dead kings, perhaps,
lists of what they ruled.
But the margins are loose;
I can doodle what I like:
see the peculiar animals among the leaves,
the tiny women sickling corn.
There are flowers here, all the ones I know
from mornings in the meadows. And there,
and there, a company around the table, a chorus
singing Gilbert and Sullivan.
Just there, in a corner,
if you look carefully, you can maybe
make out the woman giving birth under a tree.
She is quite alone, and her hair is white.
Notice the baby’s white hair, too:
my little joke.
The text drones on in miniscule,
all the same, but the margins are mine:
detail of lapis, carnelian, of gold.
ATLANTA REVIEW, FALL 2006