Universal Atlas | A Survey Of Our Wares

Sestina Three

Side-stepping shadow-boxers with glassy intentions,
Into a waft of fumes that are no longer elegant,
Only to emerge, gun-shy, within a cat litter mine
Blown out over the two-tone linoleum. A sandstorm
Carpeting the bordering streets of a village oasis.
Fluorescent light obliterating each and every shadow.

“It’d take a nut-butter taxi,” said one obliterated shadow,
“To relax thee.” Surely misheard, though the intentions
Intoned clearly evoked the miscalculating oasis
– or was it miscalculated? Lost in these tapestries. Elegant,
intricately measured designs, then covered in sandstorm.
The external, all of it, (bird song, heartbeat, helicopter) mine.

Withholding opinions in the cloud of skin-flakes, all mine.
Blustering about the sunbeams lost to return in shadow.
Watched ‘em climb dunes to picnic just after the sandstorm.
Waiting. Impatient. Forever dancing around their intentions.
And there we were – knee-deep, greasy, and elegant.
Our crescendoed laughter shattering mirage and oasis.

With her stunning arrival we need loiter no longer at the oasis,
But found it challenging to extract ourselves, to mine
The cruxes from memories raw, to shape and fire elegant
Miniature echoes, pencil scratches against shadow.
She turns and we follow, phonies, raw with intentions
Blasting out and shuddering nothing within this sandstorm.

You cannot reshape me inside of this pedestrian sandstorm,
But if on occasion my travelling companion and I reach the oasis,
Please mow the lawn and inform your children of our intentions,
If you can guess. Even my fellow’s are obscured to me & mine
Shift and flicker in the darkness, casting an elongated shadow
Through these North African streets glittering, star-lit and elegant.

She spit spumes of mint tea into the bird-bath, once an elegant
Ornament, a bleached target to fix upon from within the sandstorm.
Donate just a moment to this silhouette of shade trees and shadow
One moment, beyond the daily tickity-tock, and find in this oasis
A dream, a breath, a concave mirror for the ten-thousand intentions
Held tight, given names to define always what is suppose to be mine.

So barked and banged intentions, oh, oh you elegant
Whores, bankrupt and broken. Mine is yours in the sandstorm,
In the mirage, the oasis. So come, sit with me, within shadow.

by Jeffrey Enright and Laurence Lillvik

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