From the fall of 2004.
A land of magic entered my mind.
Let me write it down before it leaves me, I say:
For it might outlast me, if luck were mine.
She waves her hand, as if to give consent,
And buries her nose in her book.
The cover itself looked soporific to me,
But she reads with eyes ablaze.
I ask what she is reading.
"Weren't you busy with something?"
she responds, and looks back down.
A tree - I remember a tree,
Encircled by a tribe of elven sorcerers
In some odd sort of quotidian worship, daily unto eternity.
But what was with the tree? why was it special?
I could not remember.
She gazes in the air; I gaze at her
And try to recall my reveries from the other day.
I feel them leaving me. I close my eyes;
I see just shifting spots; I turn toward the sun;
I see just brighter spots.
I open them and look again at her.
She looks at me. "Am I bothering you?"
Of course not, I tell her.
A sorceress was there; she sought the sapling.
The denizens of that enchanted cove
Expended all their days protecting it.
I long forgot the reason.
She stands and leaves;
And miracle of miracles, it shines!
The splendor of that kingdom I had dreamt,
Where, when it flourished, hatred and contempt,
Iniquity were but a distant dream,
A nightmare never more there to be seen.
But when the wizardess approached that seat
Of power fair, the air would fluctuate;
All pieces of the world spun in, as if she
Could, by her touch alone, the world annihilate.
I hear the creak of wood; the girl is back,
And I cannot take my eyes off her.
"How has your work progressed?" she asks.
"Just far enough," I answer. I stand up
And grasp my book, on which I had retold
That first travail of this imagination.
She starts to speak, as if to say "May I see?"
But no sooner does she part her lips
Than I have thrown that novel in the trash.
I open the door and walk through it.
I feel alive, for once.
I had forgotten what it's like
To be free of the summer's oppressive blanket,
To own a mind less stagnant
And to new thoughts give birth.
I hear the door shut; now she stands close.
Above her and me hovers the angels' stark palette -
Carved of cerulean stone, with splotches of white paint.
The splotches shift, meander as we stand.
So near to her, my watch has stopped its ticking.
The leaves on the branches flutter, tenuous
Their grip on their twigs, who cling in fear themselves,
All afraid to plummet and break the silence.
A stillness hangs throughout the air
That rarely these environs visits
And frees the heart from erstwhile cares -
'Cause, living in serenity exquisite,
Who could muster will or strength to leave?
who could depart without a year to grieve?
She grasps my wrist, beholds the hour, and smiles.
"I have a while yet" - but all the while
She fixates on the door, her eagerness
Expended not in joy, but from duress.
"If here the painters lived who broke the shackles
Of two dimensions and of superstition -
Who saw reality for all its worth -
If only they..."
She trails off though, once more to glance askance
Behind her, all around her.
(Tell me, what things are these to recall?)
A pile of leaves rustles to our left.
A few blow off the top, fall at her feet.
She will not step on them.
"You look upset,"
She says to me, and walks a few yards off.
"This isn't how I dreamt it," I say.
"Not at all," she answers.
I tell her I saw the leaves, the sky,
The pavement, the cardinals gliding above,
The distant roar of jets,
The color of the door.
She asks, but asks frivolities, and misses what makes me dream:
What occupies the nights I should be sleeping;
What she could never see without a mirror.
She puts her arm around my shoulder
(Did I do something?)
And gives me one of her half-grins.
"This might work." She grabs my wrist again and frowns.
"You could have told me!"
The sun has far descended toward the west,
Faster than she or I had ever guessed
It could set on two who sought to light their lives
With silence, stillness, comforting surprise.
"Tomorrow, maybe," says she, and runs off.
My watch still shows ten minutes after noon;
The hands, it seems, are stuck, as is my heart.