The Figurehead Has a Separate Itinerary

The Figurehead Has a Separate Itinerary

Carved in the sweep of a crescent facade
a statue niche
curves around and scallops overhead,
empty save for shadow no one walking past can see in

to see my white
flared pants and wife beater
stained with grass, dried manure
after spending the night in the pasture
outside the city wall.

Alcoves filled with statues
reeled away,
too numerous to count
as I dashed across a deserted court
in the languid, spaghettified moment that comes with
a surge of adrenaline, stretched to the point of translucent and arced
like a fishing line cast from a boat,
or a blemish or mote
when it nears the edge of a convex lens.

A seabreeze was blowing,
I left my coat of pilot cloth on board.

The captain at his sewing frame,
even-weave cut from bolt
embroidered with the compass and the square,
a different Sanskrit character for every member of the crew—
will he tear out the same mysterious letter
an able seaman tattooed on my back?

From other cavities pale faces gaze
not like saints
whose eyes are filled with peace and love,
nor like leaders of men,
from under strong projecting brows,
their foreheads high and broad, as resolute as ramparts,
but in horror at some distant thing
no one else can see,
that corresponds to viscera inside
stone figures that echo
dreadful secret knowledge
it’s useless to deny.

Wind blusters, blows seaward.
My windbreaker flapping,
I’m colder than I think I am.
Written by Mark_Parsons (Mark Parsons)
Author's Note
Originally published in Former People: A Journal of Bangs and Whimpers
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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