She is large, and largely immobile
and occupies the bench by the road
that encircles the property like a noose.
She does this each day, a crust
or more of stale bread tucked away
in a pocket of her always floral
housedress that envelopes her
and the bench she occupies
as a monarch on her throne.
The ibis see her coming and gather
at her feet like acolytes awaiting
words from their sage and goddess.
She doesn’t disappoint them, telling
them a tidbit of the world, more often
who was taken sick overnight, who
died yesterday, always a shock
she says, then whispers conspiratorially,
but actually expected, of course,
for everyone here has numbered days,
and then tells them stories of her life,
real and imagined, the veil between
her truth and her fiction now diaphanous.
They grow impatient, but a good queen
reads her subjects and reaches
into the pocket pulling out the crusty
bread, smiles at her flock, says see, I bring
manna and together we cross the desert.
First Published in Chantarelle’s Notebook, March 2019