The Man on the Roadside

Sunday, January 15, 2023

looked at me, cocked
two fingers like a pistol,
gently pressed them into my sternum
and said:

"There is a place
in there, untouched by space and time
where you are

solid as an onion,
packed with buried beauty, with translucence
born of darkness, where you are

quiet as a chapel empty of all echo."


"Okay, cool," I said. "I'll keep that in mind."


But he was not finished:

"Know that the moment will come
when your words speak

only of what you know. That
is the moment you begin to die.

And when that time comes, go
to the chapel, that inner room that holds
those silences,
and listen
to those empty syllables that sound

the hushed depths
of the white-capped sea

you once mistook for your life."


"Got it," I say.

And I place one careful
hand against the muzzle
of his hand-
gun that is
not a gun

and I lift it away, and his fingers
unclutch and

into a pale and grasping flower.

Sunday, January 15, 2023