Shaped stones, old customs, woks of weird words.
He hawks his worn collections near the wall
and leans against it: nose and toes in sun,
his back and buttocks buttressed in bricked shade
against the cold-toned, more-than-mortal rocks.
Tunes culled from dirges echo in his eyes
as he sees music others only hear.
Green dancing girls gyre in a wincing wind
rewinding age-cold ashes back to fires
where logs incarnate trees from falling flames.
A carnal vision drums inside his ears.
His others senses scintillate in step
and glory glitters as it did before
he stepped aside, to make a place for that
which accustomed him to seek the shade of walls.
He shades his eyes as shadows shape a ghost
who speaks his name and offers him a stem
with wicked thorns and topped by one wan bloom,
a flawed rare beauty of the lethal kind
he’s hidden from since moving to this land.
The thorns are real and tingle in his hand.
He feels arthritis amble off in time,
and space escapes attention, while the shade
addresses him in language he’d forgotten
and tells him that his mission is complete.
The sun itself seeks shelter at such times,
and walkers who were sweltering grow chill.
Some, in the darkness, seek each other’s hands
and, when the sun returns, they see it seize
and sear two shadows sitting by stone woks.