Issue 126, Spring 1993
1. A Traveler
A millipede-thing the size of a Brahma bull is devouring
palm fronds that are longer than stretch limos.
He watches the multiplied sun along its segmented armor; then,
again, he works the gleaming Lever.
When the blear and nausea
dissipate, he’s on a mossy rise overlooking
a tannery compound (this would make it—what?
12, 1300 A.D.? and the read-out panel confirms this). He
studies the coltish apprentice scouring out a hide
with grabs of pigeon dung rubbed vigorously, but then the breeze
aboutfaces and the lingering death-stench clobbers him truly
as if it were a pitched rock, so he shoulders into the armlong
Lever yet again, millennia whirring
like slot machine fruit,
and when he stops it’s snowing
white babushkas about fantastical eyrie cupolas no 20th,
21st, or even 22nd-century eyes would recognize. Then,
floating out of that city’s streets: an ululating
of human woe he’s come to know, whatever the year, and whatever
the current stage of our inadequate neocortex.