Happiest on Earth

            for M, S, and S

That red deer dancing in circles  
leaping after a red flag
the bandana of its tail
at twilight next to grape fields

as though dialing up the earth
the doe multiplies herself
into a carousel of dancers
hyphenated, holding hands

every few seconds jumping high
a grand jeté in a nursery rhyme
the chandelier in the sky sparkles
until we four cross diagonally 

over rows 44, 43, 9, and 7
and are watched by a pagan
in the vine-covered walls.
That lady quiet in a blue shrine

with beads, plastic flowers
and a battery-operated candle
a spider stitching her cheek
transmitting a lullaby plainsong 

she who briefly protects even us
outsiders at a field cemetery
of four names, village of
wine and oil, oil and bread

the electronics in the sky flicker
on every grave, a photograph
Nova, nova. Veni, veni  
as we proceed latitudinally

in olive trees and rake the land
to the empty monastery
with an open well, straight shot
to the 12th century, to pitch

darkness, to putting this fair face to
the most (which one) frightening
moments on earth.

From The Water Draft (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019). Copyright © 2019 by Alexandria Peary. Used with permission of the author.