He thinks it all began with
Begin the Beguine — those pleats
of petals like Ecclesiastes. Now,
whether it’s hearsay or heresy, who’s
to say? Whether it unites or unties,
this word illness leads to silliness,
then stillness. How reverse the spell?
He remembers the mother
smearing her breast milk
into the baby’s eyes. The doing
of one thing the undoing of another.
How they said it was too late,
by the time they got to the hospital —
it was too late, the infection
was florid: meaning, like flowers.