She saw people as like paper.
Numbered and sortered, they tapered
into a pile of contents and contexts
to analyze and coalate, to coalesce
in connections, to draw thin complexity
to child's play
a shuffling game
where the eye never lost sight
of the hidden answer to every question.
Eventually the stack of babble
hit the ceiling and
toppled into disarray. Into
meaningless remains.

Around him spoke bent words.
They let loose musket blasts, aimed
with intent, but guided
by impulse. He covered his ears,
heard anyway; the fury
of a nineteen second battle.
Not enough time to note that
such shots go nowhere.
Besides his were no better.
He couldn't pick a target.
He shrank before the recoil.

A white rose would never suffice.
For her majesty's hand only blue would do.
But I had a plan. I could quote proverbs,
one twenty twenty two and a stained glass palatte
would lend me the tint Nature refused.
I dressed myself in light. Admired the court
with an insolent grin. Awaited my honors.
But the Lady swore more by Isaiah,
"Confound the network weavers!"
and drew a shade across the window.

Long later from the free side
of a cell door,
I heard the guards debate the sum
paid to repaint the regal rose
to celebrate the royal couple
and their imperial anniversary.
Its color seemed to have chipped
since first bloom.
"Ha! That's rich. Well,
there's something to be said
for honesty."

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