for Don and Sarah Beaudry

Paul pushes him out of the palace
and onto the Capitoline
at the edge of town, Caput Mundi
of executions and assignations.
Enough painting, you need some fresh air.
The Holy Father actually winks.

The Great Man, old, no longer even
partly pagan, spins the hill toward
St. Peter’s bones and plants an emperor
plump in the piazza. Constantine,
Marcus, he’ll go on forever raising
his hand toward his successors. Up

is what the old man finds he wants,
lifting the city on a ramp toward the clouds
prodded by the relocated campanile.
Chaos, cosmos—he paves the mud,
prolongs the pilasters. (Nobody’s
ever done that before!) He walls off

a little piece of heaven, secretes
the Middle Ages. He makes them all
turn their backs on Caesar’s pastured ruin,
dreams a new dome in the distance,
right there, beyond the invisible river.  end