What we don’t know of Abraham exceeds
the books on him, by thousands, on our shelves,
the bulk of which, addressing present needs,
are principally devoted to ourselves.
The more of them we read, the more we know,
and also less, as, gradually, we come
to realize how many unknowns flow
from every new addition to the sum.
He carried papers in his stovepipe hat;
how many did he lose that way? Did ink
stain his deep brow? How many leaves at once
would fit? Did Mary know of it and think,
“How idiosyncratic, my sweet dunce”?
What hatband in this world could compass that?
Dan Campion is the author of Peter De Vries and Surrealism and coeditor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song. His poems have appeared widely in periodicals. Two selections of his poems, “A Playbill for Sunset” (Ice Cube Press) and “The Mirror Test” (MadHat Press) are being published in 2022. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.