for Caroline Tevis-Bernardy
Don’t touch the world the guard says (to the child
stretching toward the great, inviting globe)
as if the Prime Meridian’s defiled.
A tiny fingertip’s an Anglophobe
in an obedient instant. And the pink
of England is preserved from anarchy
once more—by our commanding, kindred link
to Reading Gaol, in Washington, DC.
You weren’t there, but someday this story might reach
your eyes or ears. Then thank your lucky stars,
your hands, grasping the sand of Folly Beach,
the red clay of Berea—wherever you were,
and are, and will be, as you press upon
this crumbling earth, as gently as you can.
© by Gilbert Allen.
Used with the author’s permission.