All morning a merciful wind rips at the tents,
stirring all things to song. Shaded and lulled
by monotone, those that I love are asleep. I alone
am left to paint the fading grass in thatching shadow
to watch their weightless peace— sunflaked noses,
dustcaked hair. Last year, I too would have slept.
Cornerstone and Capstone, O great and veilless temple—
My eyes have grown dark.
My feet revolve in shallow circles.
Around I watched a man wade in the stagnant
pond, chest-deep, struggling through the muddy bottom.
He held his head high, even smiling through the stench—
the trot line he held flayed in his hand like a landed fish.
He too was here last year, invoking the tenant gods,
spinning in a fearful symmetry of faith and miracle.
Upon awakening, the wind has grown still.
The multitudes fill their places, stirring up dust,
streaming through sunlight. Across the stagnant pond,
between the multitude and the field, a kid flies a kite,
running and running to keep it streaming aloft.
Haltingly, it continues its journey precisely nowhere.
n Theodore James McLemore