UNFINISHED

A face half in shadow
in the gallery;
sudden silence
among the guests,
candlelit at the long table below.

Girls
serving sherbet
in the caravanserai.
Before the whirlwind
in the sandstorm’s eye
tears up the desert.

A severed head
and the black mask of the executioner
on Tower Hill.

Broken masts and torn sails
sliding
beneath the waves
and sailors crying,
“Christ have mercy on me!”
until their lungs fill with sea.

A pewter plate
on a thin chain let down
from a barred window
above the city gate.
Swinging,
to and fro,
like tomorrow’s pendulum.

Imprints
in the mind
from this lifetime or that
or something altogether earlier;
pressing against
the edges of consciousness
like a dream,
that is – but is not what it seems,
seeking its quietus.

Shadows following footprints,
looking to be reunited
with last year’s feet.

 

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