Francis E. Dunbolt

yellow leaves stone wall 2

I hadn’t a dime to my name. I hadn’t a penny to yours. I had a reindeer hoof from Pakistan. And a pirate patch from Tangier. The equals sign in the equation was always quite lopsided. There never was any equivalent to things being the same or domestic animals for sure. Walks under rainbows, snowshoes in spring, piles of needles unswept in the fall, I’m sure the cycle of time had abjured the little summering trespasses we sometimes had made crossing lakes, oceans, and a reservoir or two. Never was I an indifferent mathematician. I had held piles of sand in both hands, either one. Watching the grains fall slipping through my fingers was almost always one of my greatest pleasures. Now the Arctic is gone. Now the Sahara. Now the borrowed light of the moon is surrendered back to the sun. Now the great optative is strongly in place. And I fear the sudden death stroke of the aorist will come down and behead us both. Let us not speak a word further then. The great coronal plasma ejaculation is fast upon the Earth, and I wish I had been camping contigo in a thin, collapsible tent in the outback of Australia, where in the morning we’d have blinked away wavering glances of the aurora.

After the Owl & Pussycat Swam Away

mystic clouds and mountaintop

He knew that when he had enjoyed her last, her company, the whole thing had been fatalistic. She’d dined on sautéed scapes, and he on venison sausage. “We are in the middle of somewhere and somewhere else,” she had said, while he poked a slice of meat with four metal tines held backwards, and said nothing in reply, and waited.

Two years’ time had gone by, and his turned-in toes again met her red boots on the edge of the sidewalk. She was pregnant now and uttered, “There is the moment when short term passes into long term memory, and that point is the making of nostalgia.” And though he could have quoted easily a favorite stanza by Emily Dickinson, he did not.

Once, all night, he’d spoken to a Swiss girl, maybe it was 1967, or maybe 1988, who knows, it is all the same, and never touched her, not even her elbow, where, if you stroke a woman’s forearm, he by another was later in 2066 informed, all women therein fall in love. That night’s memory also became awash in conjugating sixteen tenses in Arabic, and reciting all their principle parts.

There seem to be in this world elfin historians, and others as miserable as soot. It is as common as the dirt between the variegated eyes that make up the rainbowed arc of the peacock’s wide-spread feathers, as ordinary and as confusing and as spectacular as that.

He walks without beauty for it, somewhere afar in a land even east of Nod. It is a desert where nobody goes, not even Urthona, even the dead. It is past all Being of being, beyond and before Memory and Time itself, where perhaps there might ramble a few stray hairs, some blades of grass, and a handful of nibblish goats.