Norm Sibum's wry, expansive poems tell stories and his characters, ancient and modern - prophets, emperors and cabbies address the old, unanswered questions with their lives, their failures and losses, their unanticipated moments of love. He shares the stoic pessimism of Tiberius, reflecting on the accident of his rule, and Marcus Aurelius, contemplating his impending death. This pessimism is remote from the easy cynicism of our age, yet Sibum is among the most modern of poets. He defines the present world by what it lacks, or by small things of the past it retains, despite itself. His classicism is without nostalgia, and he doesn't long for the desert when his Old Testament figures speak. There is always "unfinished business" for the poems to explore.