I laid it out
with great care, insured
that it comported both
with my idea and sound engineering.
I drew it with
a draftsman’s pencil,
measured each dimension
at least twice, visually
tested every joint.
It ws the culmination
of a lifetime of trying,
my final success, after
which I would stop,
there being no need
to improve on almost perfection.
Building it took time,
but I completed it,
finished it, and readied
it for display to the world.
The dog walked over,
looked in, looked quizically
at me, and raised his leg
at the neatly arched entrance.
I never expected this, he said. It came from out of nowhere. None of us predicted it. It’s a sort of thing that happens elsewhere, but not here, at least that was our assumption. We certainly never wanted it to come to this. But come it did, and so we accepted it. We learned to like the placidity of its face. We were lost for a while but our lives returned to their normal pace, the rhythms of the day overwhelmed us, and our lives went on. We never bothered to fashion a new year. We were satisfied with perfection twice each day.
He was never one to go searching.
It took up too much time.
It certainly took far more effort
than the results usually warranted.
And there wasn’t anything in particular
he wanted to go in search of.
She said she was searching for ecstasy.
He said he could buy it downtown,
but it had grown rather pricey.
She said she meant that state of being,
that state of spiritual perfection.
He said you couldn’t buy that downtown,
though there were a couple of pastors
in the suburbs who claimed to be able,
for a proper donation, to provide it.
She said she couldn’t pay for what
was promised in the Bible,
she would simply search and wait.
She had faith.
He said he had searched
for faith once, and failed.
That, he said, was when
he gave up searching for things.
A starving man
will prefer a crust of bread
over an invitation
to a future feast.
When asked what you seek,
what do you say?
When asked why you seek it,
what is your answer?
When you expect nothing
you will not be disappointed.
A relection on case 74 of the Iron Flute.