In the Crypt of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini

“Quello che voi siete noi eravamo; quello che noi siamo voi sarete.”
“What you are now, we were; What we are, you will be.”

In jawbone tondo,
Blossom of blades,
Our osseous rigging
Flaps up to God,
A chandelier
Of scapulas.

And all the while,
Beneath the bone ring,
Clothed in brown
Ribbons in breeze
A monk grins coyly,
Chaste of all breath.

But now you walk,
And note within
An arcosolium
Poised and absurd
One leans his fingers
Tip to thin tip.

The autumn air
Cuts through your coat;
Leaves strike in silence,
Tilt, in descent,
No scale, intending
None of their notes:

Look, man and see
On grey-light keystones
In guidance of grace,
This litter of leaves,
Strain not, but fall.

Within, they await
Wind from the east;
The rattle-singing
Of resurrection.