By Nancy Baenziger
Good evening, your Excellence.
We meet again after all those
your shadow gracing our table,
your voice at the door, night
The inner vision of hollow
eyes and sunken cheeks, the footsteps
of fear circling us endlessly
in the snow,
were your legacy for
growing up thin inside.
Joking that our lot were always
was not to laugh, but a tacit
nod to your presence
on the path going forward,
waiting behind every tree
to say, Ah
let us prey.
Our precious Caliban does not
come when called anymore.
That which we cultivated in such
unyielding devotion has now
turned on us.
How is obedience such a price
for the gift of life?
We have set his little feet on
the path of righteousness and he but stirs up
the dust in defiance.
We speak to him in reasoned tones of
that which is done
and he but pipes his dissonances screaming
into our ears,
and we can but bewail
the ledger unbalanced.
Now shall thine Ariel spread his shining wings.
They’ve been flight-tested some and proven true;
a final pebble tossed into the springs
from which welled up what felt like love to you.
A set of rippling sad concentric rings
has blurred my face in your distorted view.
Self-pitying waves wash vainly on the shore;
no battered soul now waits there with bowed head.
To make me what you thought you’d made me for,
My heart’s been set upon and left for dead
too many times—what’s left is nothing more
than grieving silence, all that can’s been said.
So tarry then and take the Fool with thee;
I can do nothing more than set you free.