Quiver full of bullet tipped arrows.
The bow of aluminum my dad made in high school.
I step into the sunlight on the south side of the house.
I don't know why I pull the bowstring
back to my eye, aim upward, and loose.
Straight above my head.
And the voice said,
"You are a most common creature,
though of a peculiar people."
The Sun glints off the arrow's shaft.
I shade my eyes and wonder how long
before the arrow hits me. How long before
I step aside. How long to decipher a riddle
from a lipless voice.
Now I'm 16.
These days, I fire two arrows above my head.
Bring back that voice.
One arrow. Two seconds later, another.
But the voice is silent.
Those stone breasted marble men
who plunge deep the trident and
lightning bolts heave, those armless maidens
with hoary teeth and frog's feet,
the top-heavy eagle with a monkey's face,
the knowers of vast things,
the grayness of the vicious mountain crossing,
the jury-blanketed understanding of
the staff of Aaron and the perplexity
of wood into flesh that vomits reptilian
bones beside the throne of Pharaoh golden;
and only in this place does 1996 mean anything;
for this is the way of my mind--
to search for the unknown within
the known and thus return to the
mysterious with hope and despair in thinking
the darkness will deliver its unrevealed.
The first arrow is near. Step to the left.
I will catch the second.
The first lands a few inches from my right foot.
Second, coming. Whistling. Spinning. Sharp.
I reach out my right hand.
The tip pierces my palm.
I catch the arrow by the fletch.
A line of split flesh atop what may
have once been my lifeline.
Whether I had one before the arrow's
descent, I don't recall.
Blood drips from the end of the arrow
and all I hear is the wind and birds
and laughter from a far off place.