The Dragon
by Darrell Petska

She leaves him alone with the cat
deeply asleep in the sunlight
golden with dustmotes

Everything's been calculated--
her Chinese wall fountain bubbling
beside her mini-forest of dwarf pines
and cherry blossom shoji screen--
all the pieces in place to induce
tranquility for an overwrought mind

He's learned to play along
do the gentle Tai Chi before the TV
meditate mindfully while his stomach growls

Until he bolts again: last time
he marched against the war
much farther than he should have
and returned, hurting,
to pictures of pandas and the most serene
dragon Taka Okami

She'll soon return with groceries and incense
smile on her sleeping old dragon and the cat
sequester herself in the sewing room to knit

The dragon sleeps with one eye open--
within his crusted, ancient skin
his soul is on fire
the sky teems with love and hate
rebellions are on the wind
the elements in disarray

Later over tea she'll smile
at his wonted insistence
"An old man fully awakened
wields the power of 10,000"
and sneak a divining peek in his cup

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