by Donald Riggs

Even when young, irregularities
in the wallpaper fascinated him,
and he patiently peeled away the scrim
of Alice in Wonderland from Noah's
Ark, from a layer of solid green paint.
All this at night, on his side, in the crib
where each slat held him, an external rib
in the cage. The world beyond it was faint
with distance. Irregularities years
later still fascinate him; for decades
he has been trying to see if the wall
exists, under and beyond the brocade
the wallpaper has
evolved into, jail
with rococo ornaments on the bars.