Issue 169, Spring 2004
When the poet arrived in our city
he was welcomed with storms and floods.
The earth turned to mud and the mud gave way
and the houses crashed down the canyons.
The people all crowded in the hall.
They wondered what the poet would look like
(none of them had ever seen the poet before).
The hall was cold. The people were worried.
When a man wearing a dark suit finally came in
they could hardly believe their eyes.
He didn’t look anything like the poet
and the people began to lose hope.
The poet opened a rain-soaked book
and outside the weather grew worse.
Lightning struck and the people cried out.
The poet grinned as if this was good luck.
But the people had grown afraid.
“What is he going to say?” they whispered.
“Will his words have any effect?”
A great wind shook the doors of the hall.
The poet adjusted his glasses, then leafed
through the pages of his slender book
as if it was strange and unfamiliar.
A woman in the front row started to weep.
Her daughter held her hand and caressed it.
A young man shouted, “Do something!
Do something, you bastard!” The poet looked up.
The people held their breath and waited.
Rain fell like stones on the roof of the hall.