I am a child of the lion

And the emperor,

But my spirit has been drawn

More to you,

Oh two-faced god—

You who are of dusk and dawn,

An Azura of ancient Rome

Who holds the daedric star

Of past and present

In your palms

And the fate of the city

In your eyes.


I look into them now

As I leave my life

As it was,

Both in the reality

Of the classroom

Where I guided students

Through the mysteries

Of language and literature

And also in the imaginary

Of the flickering screen,

The frame of a mirror,

Through which I glimpsed

A world of wonder

Beyond my own.


I’ve seen you at times

In the promise

Of a woman’s kindness,

The electric touch

Of fingertips

That whispered

Of greater longings,

A shared smile,

A moment,

A kiss beneath

A Georgian moon.


I’ve heard you

In the laughter of friends,

Men who shared my heart

In one way or another,

Who understood

The pains of manhood

And the troubles

That come to those of us

Who would seek to be fair

To the fairer sex.


I’ve glimpsed it

In my daughter,

The miracle of my past

And present

And future,

Who travels now

Through the streets

Of my youth

And transforms them

With each step

Into something new

And wonderful.


But when I look closely

At you,

Two-faced god

Of the in-between,

I see my Self,

Both young and old.


I reach forth

And kiss the nubile lips

And then the ancient ones

And finally know

That I am the god

And that the god is me.


In that moment

Of peace,

The doors open,

And I step boldly forth

Into the cosmos

of my own humanity.

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