Inchiostro

Tonight
this particular sleepless night,
the colour is brown.

Some nights are red.
Others,
many others, are blue and black.

But tonight
this night
is brown.

Dipping the Venetian blown
tip, I marvel at its fragile strength;
I envy its amazing ability to hold
fast just long enough and yet retain
nothing.

Because retention,
(ah, yes, Retention)
is the danger, retention
is the risk and the lure.
Retention.
That way madness lies...

Beyond, around, beside the
brown, lie bits, shards and
sherds of who I suppose I am,
I suppose.  An aggregation of
pens and inks and paper scraps,

lavender lip balm, and three different
crèmes (one for eyes, two for hands); one
candle, three spent matches (reticent
sulphur); four pairs of Dollar Store readers
in various states of broken;  five malas and

one silver hoop long thought lost; a jade-
eyed jaguar and a near-sighted faerie; photographs
and cookie-fortunes, cards of encouragement, and
notes of love, for which I never feel quite
worthy.

Above it all, in a crystal vase, a platinum
rose (dipped alive against forever) stands
silent guard against the clutter, over the
mess that is who
I am.

When I die, lay the rose
in my hand, my (hopefully) ink-
stained hand, the one with
Infinity on the finger, then bind
me in buff-coloured linen, (pull

it taut and smooth), and call
the children to colour me.  Tell
them to decorate, to make me
ready to lie, not in, but down,
not under, but atop the prickly

sage and the rustling buffalo
grass that grows beneath the
ancient twirling, still wooden
windmill.  The Angus will come
(drawn by my motley shroud)

to nuzzle me with their soft
fat mouths, then seeing that
I am merely flesh and nothing
good to eat, will lumber away,
leaving me for those less

particular.  The carrion vultures
with their wet-jet feathers, will
tear both shroud and skin, while
the red-tailed hawks and crafty
coyotes (ki-oats) fight over  

tastier bits.  One eye will fly
West, another North.  My liver,
carried whole, will feed the hungry
pups who lie hidden at the base of
the Cottonwood grove. 

But
when they come to fight for my
heart, they will not find it.  It will
be gone East, having followed the
black-blue hum-throbbing vein that

called it so long ago.  And there
it will stay (my heart), beating softly,  
beating  steadily, inside yours, until
you are ready to bring it
home to me.

© srogers  11 august  2012

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