(Virgil can keep the Muses;

they’re welcome, of course,

but finer and fairer

than I’ll ever be. We must all of us set

reasonable expectations.)

Oh, Crooked God,

what can’t you do?

Go straight, go straight.

Then by the winding way

we’ll walk together.

Make me a criminal —

not Hercules, Orpheus,

or even Odysseus,

but a thief who

enters by the front door.

Hermes, polytropos,

give me the words —

to make them less lonely,

to capture their ears,

to move hearts to motion,

to leave behind fear.

Teach me your craft,

liar and lyre-maker,

thief, runner, wrestler:

god of my heart.

God of the crossroad,

a versified offering:

may you accept it,

and bless my new start,