Castles
by Isaac Black


You can build them with ice, or glass,
or sand, or paper. If you are wiser, maybe
older, you can build them with armored
towers or arched bridges. You can build
them from a junk pile using your fingers--
welding metals, or using just wood with
glue. You can do it with balls of yawn or
string. Or by using hydraulics. You can
start simply, tinker, Dad said, or add
cisterns, to collect rainwater. Of course,
my dear boys, there should be a Lord
and Lady's chamber, chang of chapel
bells, a theater of inlaid stone columns,
timbered ceilings, iron candelabra (for
candles), even secret passageways. But
be forewarned, he said, it won't be easy.
Not seeing one lark sparrow arching
over Dad's head (his university lectern
looked old, pock-marked), I wiped a tear
away. My heart is heavy, he said. Go.

Braving it, my older brother found his
boneyard--toolbox, pliers, tape measure.
Perfect. I uncurled under my bed, counted
silver coins, felt for a torchlight, then
packed it all in a duffel bag. Some said
I then rode my 10-speed bike across 2
or 3 states, found a quiet bench off
Interstate 70. Others swore I never left
the house. In the morning, I passed
my brother's castle (once an oily teapot),
laying on its side It's earflaps went
click-clack, when I stepped to close.
I led Dad to the courtyard (he'd wisely
worn his Jacquard Silk Kurta), over
the drawbridge. We saluted the King,
waved to pages, peasants, headed to
the Great Hall, sat at the raised Dais.
Oh, the feast, jugglers, troubadours.
My brother didn't say anything. He
likely didn't see Dad's last smile (any
Knightly breastplate I wore), or how
I saddled a white stallion and galloped,
full-speed ahead, unto the highway.






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