after Hans Christen Anderson
Traveler, I came to a colossus
of clustered houses—a sultry kingdom,
replete with breeze-swept balconies,
belled donkeys, and vying boys
slyly triggering Roman candles—
all of it beneath a glittering
caravansary of detectable stars—
In the bullying heat
of that equatorial city,
my rambunctious shadow grew
thinner, desiccated, restless,
and leaped, abracadabra
than agile gazelle!),
onto my mysterious neighbor's
When my rogue-swift, dark counterpart
returned, I asked:
What did you see? Who lives there?
Poetry, he revealed.
Yes, Poetry, as numinous and longed-for
as the Northern Lights,
often lives, in palm-guarded places,
as a shuttered Garbo, an elusive
recluse cloistered among us—
Imagine: I was a seeker tantalized
by light and shadow
that I faithfully mimicked
in expressive oils and aquarelles,
an ardent, itinerant painter, attuned
to the way garden shadows
become diligent brushstrokes
or late afternoon lace.
So why should I be surprised
at my headstrong shadow?
To read the rest of this piece, purchase issue 27.1 here.