T. L. Stokes The 2River View, 5.3 (Spring 2001)

The Peribaca

My thoughts are boring;
not so much like blind worm fears
carving tunnels in moist hemispheres,
left or right, they forget which way
to turn;

but like colorless chatter,
echoing off borders of the skull,
easily forgotten trails of arid
meaninglessness; an unsalted dish.

Where are the visions,
terrains of dust
under camel's ancient feet,
where spires of polished memory
birthed by screaming volcanos
become misplaced monoliths?
Stones stacked, then unclothed
bit by bit by deserted winds.
The people call them fairy chimneys,
the color of England's old thatch roofs.
Great towers with delicate heads,
like stone cocks
with nothing to hold them.

The peribaca guard caves
where Christians hid themselves
painting Maltese crosses
that spoke their hearts,
carving empty faces into walls
where pigeons came to live.
After praying they would eat one
or gratefully watch
what pigeons took for granted—
wings, carrying silenced prayers
to windows of heaven.

My inner eye, waiting,
hungers for—

a ticket to Cappadokia,
almost ready to turn away,
change my perspective,
fingering the ache
for this poem-in-waiting,

yet afraid, too busy
watching worms
searching for their eyes.

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2River All is well.