Thamyris

I.

He was tethered to possibility.
But his body, neither spring nor anchor,
would not allow him, without letting go, reach
the instrument broken at his feet.
He held but a fragment, a mere stick.
Caught comical, pathetic, useless stick hovering in air,
his eyes rolled edge to mirror’s edge,
his tongue swollen, filling his mouth
like a piece of rubber.

It goes without saying shoots browning in the field,
while green swamped:
it was Springtime.

In the towers, highways and public squares everyone saying
everything that had ever been said,
he told himself, “say nothing,” or “awake from history,”
or some variant thereof.
Engaged to silence and unfaithful,
his thumb jerked toward the wide world,
and smudged itself.
His befuddlement took on substance,
clear as a shadow,
inescapable.

II.

As one man looks at himself
all others pass through his gaze too
yet, if he follows them,
who is left
to complete the spiral?
First of all children,
then those digging around in tar pits
under a blazing sun,
alive to ask the question:
beyond the black edge of brow
is only blue sky and clouds
but why, Thamyris, say “only”?
For it is the field upon which everything begins anew—

As it is.
Even a stage framed in black.

Down in the pit the musicians make ready to play,
waiting only for the conductor’s baton.

 

Contributor’s Notes: Mark Kerstetter steals time away from restoring an old house in Florida to write poems and stories and to make art out of salvaged wood. Please visit him at markkerstetter.com.