We stopped seeking the Etruscans
amid the old, lonely thoughts
and assumed them absorbed

and dispersed through the larger stock
of the Romans as they spread
across their burgeoning empire.

The study of God, god, gods
fell away as well, this terra cotta notion
of in-grave kings and queens,

this riverine country of shoulder length hair,
the blackness of coffee a more perfect measure
of morning-afters in Winter.

What time is it to you, now that your ghost towns
have names in a forgotten language?

What day are you the lioness? The gazelle?
The small black spider with red markings?

Yes, you are slim enough for apples,
a serpentine appellation when you dance,
for night dark chocolate to alter our poetry.

But, the fact that your hand searches the wall
by the door for a switch, a light, the static glow
of molecules in excited motion

suggests something I can’t quite place my finger on,
the index key lost to the translation
of alder trees after the fire.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Young As You Feel

Paul rolls his eyes.
Paul barrel-rolls his eyes
and dives arms spread fixed-wing-like.

He strafes a line of Hannibal’s elephants
before they enter the Alps
on their way to conquer the Etruscans.

Paul does not care the Romans
conquered and absorbed the Etruscans first
or that his P-Fifty-One Mustang is twenty-one centuries too soon.

He really does not care that he is forty
and this type of make-believe
is normally reserved for children.

Yesterday, he purchased a bottle
of special reserve imagination from the wine steward
at his favorite curiosity shop.

It does not matter that the special reserve imagination
was a can of A&W root beer from a Coca-Cola machine
in the back of the curiosity shop.

Paul considers the inside of his insides
and scans the walls for Peter Pan and Lost Boys graffiti
painted with the red stain of yesterday’s Strawberry Twizzlers.

He finds I won’t grow up repeated forty-one times
across his inside’s insides,
then rounds his P-Fifty-One into another strafing run.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney