In an enchanted wood

 

[In an enchanted wood]

 

In an enchanted wood of a remote, dark land

a Citadel’s been erected, and remains

unbothered, but for the occasional doves and bats

that brave the invisible bulwarks, by chance

more than mission. She—if a fortress is a she,

that is—chuckles intermittently

at legions marching past who do not see,

at knights stomping on reconnaissance

who do not see, at the renegade few

who see but to ford her moat and scale

her walls go ker-clunk ker-clunk ker-plash

unwilling to disburden themselves of armor

which makes her defenses effective,

the battlements inaccessible. Their falls

seem noble as the antics of court fools

or circus clowns. But still she has assumed

the reputation of a wit, a curmudgeon.

 

But were anyone to shed the heft

and armor of the world I bet

they’d be able to rise into her inner

sanctum, and steal the gold or whatever

treasures there are. Naked, free and light

they’d traipse through the keep and the dongeon, parade

through halls and dance atop the throne—

since there are no sentries, they’ll think they are alone—

until they hear a footstep, and then see. . . .

 

Have you guessed what the fort really is?

Like Atlantis, no one living knows if

it’s been lost or ever really was.

But sometimes in a twilight still and clear

I think I hear the faraway sound

of armor being dropped, and then, coming

nearer, ever nearer, on tiptoe yet,

a naked, intrepid, intrigued and intriguing

 

laughter!

Copyright © 2017 James B. Nicola.

James B. Nicola retains all rights to this work, granting Fickle Muses one-time, non-exclusive electronic publication rights. Please contact the creator to request permission for reprints or other uses of this work.

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