Was I dreaming all this while
Was it just a trick of the light
An optical illusion perhaps
that I failed to notice
that leathery creature
hanging from your back
I see it clearly now
the claw-tipped wings
the serpent’s tail
and the all too human head
waiting, waiting, all this while
for you to utter the word.
Coil turn twist tight
breathe in, breathe in
Still the air, the moment
the tiny moment before.
Hover crouch pause think
Hold in, hold in
Freeze the frame, the moment
the tiny moment before
The dice will stop spinning, will fall
The arc will soon take shape
The clock will strike the hour
Anyway, anyhow, any moment now,
the moment after the cusp.
Sometimes, fate, that whimsical goddess
shows you a map
to keep you from wandering
too far beyond her ken.
Mine’s made of marble
with rivers of gold
with cities of black gems
and lakes as azure as the sky
The chart is my comfort
though the lettering is all foreign
and the land- one I’ve never been.
All the land is changing
and the maps can’t keep up
All the places I knew and loved
are being overwritten
I have remedied the situation
I now carry the country
On my skin
As I was walking past an old vacant house last night
I heard the tinny symphony
of the wind chimes hanging off the porch.
They sound like bells.
Little fake bells.
Bells always make me uneasy-
they always summon something.
This time they unearthed an image,
an image that was buried so deep in my brain
that I was startled that I remembered it with such clarity.
Stuck so high up a mountain’s side,
in a deserted village of stone.
The night is yet to grow firm
and sleep is dancing just out of reach.
Half awake, half asleep, half dreaming,
I hear the bells summon the shadows-
that slide slowly silently across the snow.
I hear snips of whispered conversations.
I hear the odd staccato bark of the mountain dogs,
and catch a glimpse
of lanterns on the snow.
After a while the bells die down,
ebbing away with the wind.
A bell summons other bells.
what matter if the skin is warm as fire
when the bone itself is chilled as ice