Studies for Figural Groups and Ornament (recto); Design for a Baptismal Font (verso). Anonymous, Italian, 18th century. Bequest of Miss Edith Standen, 1998. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This wistful and luminous wet is bright;
is eye-arresting in this courtyard,
demanding notice, coated in its own
slick skin of dust that drifts on water,
lit white by sunken lamps, obscured by glass.

You stand across the brushed-clean concrete
in conversation, words too hushed to hear but still
the spill of them is bell-sweet and
brilliant, almost as if

this fountain is charged,
full and flush with fire,
as I have seen the San Gabriel river
from the 210 West when it runs un-choked,
and ragged across the rock-dry earth,
gilded from the diminished sun’s descent,
flowing, enfolding flame as

the air above is burst by sunset’s
multifoliate bruise, it
bows and blesses, sends
a benediction of hot wind,
proclaiming belovedness.

Now, fall in: drown.
Drift down in immolation.
Reach the bed and press your bare
feet into the soil and small stones.

Then break the burning surface.

Jonathan Diaz lives in Whittier, California with his wife, Abigail. He is a perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute, and holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Notre Dame.