Today's poem is by Chad Davidson

The Last Crusade

I was It, the unnamed, the great criminal
echoing a dead Venetian's name off stones
my friends' variously sized heads made

at water's rim. During the second golden age
of suburbia, I was blind but could speak
one word, Marco, to which the indigenous

quid-pro-quoed their Polos before vanishing
beneath my dog paddle in the deep end.
Saracens, they gathered at the floodlight's eye,

or circumnavigated gunite, revealing
like vowels their inevitable emptiness,
voices mere mirage—islands I imagined

baptized in chlorine at the edge of the new world.
And since that world was cruel, I burned secretly
in the space between the game and my crusade:

to catch them slipping out, establishing outposts
at the far corners of the known, they
who simulated with mere hands a body

flailing. Ask any kid or medieval Venetian:
to cheat was nothing if not blind justice,
payment for our being born into savagery

masked only by the smell of gardenias
or the intricate shattered sea of a mosaic.
Meanwhile, I, the ascetic, the other, traveled

interminable routes strung in the silk
of my own wake, chased the disembodied
as they silenced, returned to the water itself

in that citadel of gated homes and oleander,
like saints who whirl in their church lazuli
eyes closed, perspectiveless, and hammered thin.

Copyright © 2014 Chad Davidson All rights reserved
from From the Fire Hills
Southern Illinois University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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