Beatus Ille


He’s happiest on weekends in the fall,
Those quiet afternoons
Of chilly light he’s sure no one will call
And, in the leaves’ kaleidoscopic swoons,

He lets the drowsy hours drift away.
Brief swirls of gold and umber
Wheel past the deck where he devotes the day
To cultivating an observant slumber,

Untroubled by his work’s insistent claims
On his attention, or
His wife, away on business, or the games
On TV, young men running up the score

Hopelessly. There’s no party to attend,
No need for artifice.
He doesn’t have to lie to console a friend,
Or give his cheek to a pretended kiss

Or feign an interest in political twaddle.
For once, he feels, he’s free,
So he presses his warm lips to a bourbon bottle
And, reminiscing, wanders aimlessly

Out through the yard in the blue-black night’s cool air,
Savoring every sip
Among the fallen leaves, blown here and there,
The half-moon smiling like a sunken ship.

Ryan Wilson holds graduate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and Boston University, and he is currently a doctoral candidate at The Catholic University of America. Recent work has appeared in 32 Poems, Able Muse, First Things, The Hopkins Review, The Journal, River Styx, Sewanee Theological Review, Unsplendid, and elsewhere. He lives with his wife in Baltimore.

First published in Measure, Volume 9, Issues 1 & 2 (2014)