Garden workers flittering
Like ladybugs in dirt-covered
Canvasses to hide their wings.
In they come, on after another,
Exchanging outer layers
For sharp knives and spoons.
A single pile lays on the table
Reserved for feasts and mead
Where they sit a quiet captive.
An embargo on melodic tones
For their exchange has high tariffs,
He arrested for illegal trade.
Behind a transparent embroidery
Hanging from the frame
Like an impenetrable suicide barrier.
Clearing throats and loud swallowing
Echo off high spirits and iron stove
As the workers sustain their communion.
They wonder aloud why it is
The warmth behind the shawl
Refuses to eat what they eat.
“It sustains the bones, refreshes
Wearied brows and knotted bristles
Of brooms shaved from lion’s manes!
Why scorn what is offered with
Honey lips that sup from kingly cups?
A missing piece to nobody’s puzzle.”
They cannot capture cryptic skies
That seep from catacomb stocks
Is how they feel when they conference.
Sudden cries then smoke with no fire;
A family of hushed whispers
Blinding eyes avoiding loose spark next door.
Children and wars are seen and not heard,
But he is no bellicose youth,
He is a ghost with mayflower crown.
He has the most in his banquet bouquet,
Gifts brought to life from darkened tombs
Warm and earthy, unlike his hall.
Into obscurity once more he floats
As if on palm frond in frothy seas
Familiar to him yet foreign to all around.
Food won’t satisfy like starved ghosts
In the lower realms of the family’s Buddha;
They give him the most yet nothing at all.
Author’s Note: Sometimes you wonder about your integration skills when everyone leaves when you enter the room. Half of the time it’s just so that they can get you some tea or candy, though.