The Bargain

In the transatlantic fury
when I feared
I might not survive
to see Florence,
clutching an elfin
Love Sonnets of Shakespeare,
I implored:
Lord, let me live
long enough to dare
a love poem—

In time, of course, the skies
stopped glowering.
And in the Tuscan summer’s imperial
segue into autumn,
poetry burgeoned—

It’s not only the active grace,
the glory between us:
these praise songs spring
from a holy bargain,
from my deepest desire
to live.

From the poem “The Magician-Made Tree” from Beautiful Signor by Cyrus Cassells. Copyright 1997 by Cyrus Cassells. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.