My friend, we were walking alongside the man-made river
where a city walked so slowly along its banks they seemed part
of the current itself, and every few feet a fire burned, the cauldron
fires that smelled of flesh, though I knew it to be only the heart-wood
thrown by bare-chested men onto the flames. For a moment I forgot
where I was, and heard, a chanting. A lowing from the waters.
We followed the shore. There were kernels of corn, small explosions
in great oiled kettles being turned then poured into bags and cones.
We ate more than we needed as we talked about your future, despite
the past seeming to fill the air with smoke. I said, In this place I could
see civility just giving way.
Along the man-made river, we walked, and the boats almost beside us
full of those you said "meant to be seen," but I knew otherwise, as I
pictured myself inside such a dark vessel, Odysseus, weightless
upon that night’s close current, indivisible: skin, wood, water, fire.
As people waved, you went on, beside me – a lamentation
on Beauty and how there simply wasn’t enough of it….
Issue No. 11 • December 2013