Richard Rand

City of Light

n this certainly holy house,
The name I will not tell, there awaits a well
Where every patron can toss
A coin that never hits bottom, never echoes
With a whirling clickity-clack.

The eye of the well weeps black,
Its pupil the dismal stare of a fallen soul
Mercy starved in a body curled adder tight
And mouth stretched in a dormant growl.

Bombs of ecstasy have burned her bare
Revolutions have bled and stumbled dead there.
Yet still the house defiantly stands
Against every one of its meddling masters.

In waves of murmurs unending she brings
Beggars never tiring of finger worn money,
Birthing the littlest things to play games
Through her doors and stamp her stones dry.

Here her silence begets a cloud, a kind
Of new incense weaving sleep
Through cracked faces companioned
By stagnant pools of old chants,
Songs of past ceremony eluding crowds.

There, she keeps polished collections
Of discarded teeth and bleached knucklebone
Where every stair and step
Draws the wanted guest closer to smoke
Stacked halls always churning, always burning
When sunlight warms sprinkled ash,
Flowers form and a grand garden grows
Full of fluted standing stone
Whitewashed smooth. Do you approve?

Then this house is yours, each chair is yours
To contemplate the cryptic, if so inclined
Take the staircase that winds down
Wrapping around the weeping underground.
There you will find she remains
Your friend before you with candle wax
To seal your eyes in a room of resting dead.

Richard Rand is a graduate student at the University of North Texas. Danse Macabre welcomes him to our pages.