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Published: Wed Jul 1 2009
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.

I wouldn’t mind a house
managed by servants—
an English butler
to advise me
whether to take tea in the study
or outside in the garden,
a cook whose kitchen is a temple
and whose table bears testimony
to imagination and love,
a gardener to tend the hedges
of the children’s boxwood labyrinth,
a housekeeper who brings order
to the library’s scattered books,
and most important of all,
a secretary and amanuensis,
an angel who, unseen, leaves
each morning on my desk
a ream of fresh paper
and an onyx fountain pen
beside a little silver bell
I might lift and ring
to summon all twelve muses
if that’s whom I wanted,
if I thought they ever had
something poetic to say.

Richard Jones is the author of seven books of poems, including his most recent volume, Apropos of Nothing (Copper Canyon Press, 2006), and a forthcoming collection, The Correct Spelling & Exact Meaning (Copper Canyon, 2009). A volume of new and collected poems, The Blessing (Copper Canyon, 2000), won the Society of Midland Authors Award for poetry. A new collection, King of Hearts, is forthcoming from Adastra Press. For twenty-nine years he has been editor of the literary journal Poetry East, which celebrates poetry, translation, and art from around the world; he also edits the journal’s free poetry app, “The Poet’s Almanac.” He lives in Chicago, where he is a professor of English at DePaul University. (updated 9/2015)

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