Montalvo Arts Center

Ensemble SF paired with poet Jeffrey Levine and the Montalvo Arts Center to create a beautiful evening of music, poetry, and food.

Working With the Lepers by Jeffrey Levine

In my yard, you are not,
nor in my crab apple tree,
which I also claim, and so too the raccoons
nesting in the black oak across from where
last winter, the old picket fence was crushed
by that enormous stag who stood off-center
for as long as he liked,
pawing the snow
for as long as he liked,
until the snow turned into mud
and the mud into daffodils, which he ate until
love turned into water and the water into wine
and the wine — how I miss you
there, among the lepers, earning your sainthood
daily, fevered and fervent.
The Chinese say vinegar is envy,
but the Chinese don’t know everything.
See the papaya tree, its heavy fruit hinting at the visible?
Pluck this world from our vision of love.
Pour out the vinegar.
Bless the wounds.