“‘Dominus Illuminatio Mea,’” by David Wright


Dominus Illuminatio Mea

Little Roman boy on vacation
            in the future
Meets little girl from Illinois,
            in the park.
In Latin, he tells her of grapes
            that arrive in wagons.
In English, she tells him she does not
            understand him, which he, also fails
            to understand.
So they must resort to smiling,
            to punching one another in the arm
In Latin. In English.
She hits him twice to let him know
            she likes his tunic.
He responds, painfully, that he’s fond
            of her blue jeans.
He cannot tell her, though, how he got here,
            out of language, out of time.
Neither can she.


David Wright’s poems have appeared in Ecotone, Image, Bluestem, and Poetry East, among others. He lives in Champaign, Illinois, and has taught in the English Department at the University of Illinois since 2006. In the fall, his new collection of poems, The Small Books of Bach, will be published by Wipf & Stock, and he will begin a new position teaching creative writing and literature at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. You can find him online or follow him on Twitter.