Beyond Narcissus’ Pool by Thomas A. E. Hesketh

My friend,

            Let me ask of you, if I may,  
                         with the aid of the Muse who has guided me thus far,  
                                     along the path I have travelled,  
                                                 which intersected yours, as you may recall,  
                                                            when the Sun shone brighter in the sky, stars were fixed, 
                                                                        and storm clouds were another person’s shadow, 

                                                 about a matter of some concern, personally;  
                                                              an imposition I would not think to assert,  
                                                              without having known you, in the time when words had left  

us each,  

             the time we no longer mention, except by the most oblique of references  
                         conscious of the sorrow underlying our efforts to survive, persevere,  
                                      looking into the mirror of our souls, finding there no well of insight, no  
                                                   center within the iris,  
                                                                no plumb line between our heads and our hearts, yet 

         we took  

whatever  

                      we needed to take,  
                            sometimes two, 
                                           grasping at air with our tongues,  
                                                        still bleeding from vain attempts  
                                                                 to quell the instinctual need  
                                                                          to howl at the Moon’s craters’ lightness; albeida;  

           starring at our fates, dust in cold orbit 

I find myself these days poised, unsteady;  
           as if reaching for balance: blindfolded; a snail crawling the length of a straight 
                      razor; an island under siege from all directions, with the volcano
                      stirring 

inside,  

                      birds’ beaks thrashing my Promethean liver; severed fingers in buttered bowls; 
                                   bards’ slit maws’ gargles, a baobab adrift at sea; 
                                                                                                                         out of place – 

           It is not about the bedbugs of life, I think; (certainly) therefore, in grids; I made my peace 
                      with a cockroach, a pumice stone, and an iron griddle; have seen the Grand 

                                 Canyon, Niagara Falls, and the cathedral of Notre Dame – before the fire; 
                                 more than mere trifles, less  

                                                                                                                                    than mortality; 

           “Which wishy-washy witch wishes wishbones well”, was whispered once, wistfully. 

Are you distracted yet, again?  
           Is this the point on the line when the circular becomes perpendicular, properly  

triangulated? 

                                                       Meet you halfway, 
                                                                                                   yours can be the bigger half,  

but the last word is still 

                                      uncertain, albeit ineffable, they say, . . .  

                                                                                                   So, we’ll dispense with the  

foreplay, 

                                                     squaring the edges at the horizon of introspection, calling  
                             the surf to retreat, wishing good tidings, prizing drift-would with all Kant, 
at least for a mo(re)-ment; an extended pause, a hiatus between assignments of being  

            Why haven’t you answered my dream mail? 

                                                                             I inhale, you exhale 
                                                               We have the same birthday 
                          We share the same fingerprints We should not be so incommunicado,  eh?  
           I look forward to your reply, Or will we each be  left, alter-half-egos? 

                                                                                                                Be well,  

Thomas A. E. Hesketh was born in Toronto, Canada, on a cusp, last millennium; none of it his fault. Most of what has happened to him has happened to others, too. He enjoys poetry because of its verbal range, except the caesuras, and chess, which is non-verbal, except the regicide.

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