by David Bowles

Sometimes I’m a thief,
Sneaking into the House of Holy Writ,
Cracking open dusty tomes,
Breaking thick wax seals,
Rolling open ancient scrolls,
Stealing those heavenly lexemes,
Jotting down furtive phrases
Before slipping guilty
Back into my benighted life.

Sometimes I’m an explorer,
Plying vast, amorphous seas
Of primal thought,
Anchoring at dark atolls,
Scanning alien constellations,
Scrying sluggish sargassoes
That undulate like the torpid tresses
Of naiads and sirens
For visceral, unspoken truths.

Sometimes I’m a wanderer,
Lost in trackless deserts
Of shifting, homogenous past,
Falling for every empty mirage,
Foolishly avoiding each oasis,
Till I stumble onto the ruins
Of long-abandoned monuments
Lifted in naïveté by some forgotten me.
I make rubbings of opaque glyphs
And hope to decipher my own dead tongue.

Sometimes I’m a hunter,
Pursuing multi-syllabic prey
Across savannahs, through dense jungles,
Glimpsing mottled hides
As they sleekly leap and blur
Amidst the undergrowth and vines.
With luck I finally corner one
And send my bolt whizzing home,
Only to display the prize like a taxidermist,
All vital magic drained away.

Sometimes, though, I’m a child at play
Beneath the autumn trees,
And, oh! the leaves that scatter down
Upon my youthful head:
Reds and golds and burnished browns,
Piling higher and higher
Till, laughing, I can hold back no more
And I dive into drifts
Of perfect words.

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