The Refuge of a Hill Town
Drowsy men in piazzas wait for their souls
to step forward. I come quiet as winter,
bereft of stories and caution.
The blue hills keep my eyes.
I'll go nowhere for a long while.
The arduous ways of time
steeped in sage and warm lemon.
The salted fish, brown potatoes,
small cracked cup of weak tea.
No one prays out loud. No avenue
of birds, or lovers waiting by the gate,
that eagerness not even a memory, or page
in a dusty book. There must be knives,
there are always knives when the night
turns grim and somebody cannot bear the truth
and so becomes the lie, as if that will change
his bones to gold. Dinner is served
at a regular hour under the stars,
which even the blind can carry deep in their pockets,
letting their fingers trace the shape
so as not to pierce their skin,
releasing pills of blood, startlingly red.