the wind is warm. formless and granular. the sand whips
the masts of the ships that never sailed, failed voyages
dry docked and stillborn, worn like a mason's hands.
the road is unmarked, lightly traveled, a pilgrim's afterthought.
the old man, blind in one eye, shades his brow and whispers
a solemn greeting, resplendent with time and tragedies.
"welcome to Bohemia", he rasps, dry lips spitting each word
like watermelon seeds at a long forgotten 4th of July party.
he rises. joints stiff and sore from the scores of times
he has risen out of common decency, even for those unworthy.
dignity and respect, reflected in a genuflecting smile,
warmer than the armor of the amourist, or something like it.
he motions you to sit and offers a scone or some warm tea.
"I remember what is important", he says, the mind still in motion.
the chairs are wooden, plain and solid, the paint scratched
and the table patched more than once out of necessities.
the wind continues to sing. And then he speaks, rapidly,
words unheard anywhere in the universe anytime before.
the poet's tongue dances though trances and transitions,
memories and good intentions, untended and befriended.
the wind fades, the sun sets, and the voice holds court,
sport of the mind, grinding the fist sized rubies to dust.
then blowing them away with a puff of breath, mocking death
and the stuff of riddles and religions, pigeons sacrificed.
the final syllables are what you came for, the final stanza.
you strain to catch your name in the arcane utterances.
it is in there, you are certain, the curtain cannot fall
without your acknowledgment in the dance of the decades.
you raise your eyes to thank him for his courtesy, despite
all the unrelieved grief and find him gone, leaving behind
only skin and bone and the riddle of manuscripts memorized
and now gone on a wind that resumes its mocking wail, outside.
William F. DeVault. all rights reserved.