- 2020 Volume 15
A fire cackles in the corner,
every blood curdling screech like a whip
cracking against the boiling heat of the Sahara.
Something, or someone, chars
inside the inferno. It fuels the fire,
pressing its flames into the sky.
Smoke fills the night air.
Tonight the stars are a mix of
calcium chloride and silver nitrate
dropped by God, a scientist,
over a black canvas
with an amber pipet.
The sun of the stars burns
the golden flesh of Hercules,
his body angled away from the fire.
Streaks of fabric, woven
by threads of silver from deep in
the Peruvian rainforest, spill over his body.
Psalms of humanity are sewn
to the hem of the cloth
in a labyrinth of gold and Redstone.
An open book lies on the floor
of the labyrinth, abandoned,
dusted with the tears of age.
Close your eyes. If you listen,
you can hear the whisper of a woman,
her breath infused with tobacco and peppermint.
Her words are syrup,
dripping through the gaps of her teeth,
carved by the burning stub of a cigarette.
Can you hear the syrup?
It tastes of sea salt and caramel
and feels like fear.
Is she afraid of the fire
And its orange and red tangle of knots?
Or of the dancers,
Moving to the sound of
velcro ripping off of the ceiling
of St. Peter’s Basilica.
As Hercules stares down from his perch
among the stares at the dancers,
he is reminded of God’s failure.
The fire still burns in the corner,
an eternal mass of dark light
while the dancers still spin.
And there’s a bird sitting on its perch
in a sycamore tree to the left of the fire.
The bird doesn’t move.
It doesn’t move. Instead,
It simply watches the world.
A robin pantomime.
Photo by Garrett Glasgow