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Remembering the World

The king is dying,

memory fading.

Now honor is gone

now yesterday’s dinner

now mother’s hand stroking

the ermine collar

of her deathbed gown.

 

(For now, the world

flat and finite

like his mind. The ocean’s

crisp boundaries

spill over four corners

like memory, disappearing.)

 

The king orders

a fleet of glass galleons

set out to explore

the edge of the world.

They launch, crystal sails

aloft in the sun,

casting rainbows

through ocean spray.

 

(A century hence,

the world will be round

like a fruit:

one endless circumference.

Minds, too, become

deeper thoughts hidden

like icebergs

submerged in men’s souls.)

 

Sailing toward

the periphery

translucence deepens.

Ships pale, disappear,

til but one is left.

Atop the survivor’s mast

the king’s sole

remaining lieutenant

peers at knife’s edge horizon.

The world tapers

stretched thin. Sky bleeds 

navy, royal, azure

fainter  

to absence’s hue.

 

(World and man

exchange simplicity

for paradox,

linearity curving

swallows its tail.

The traveler’s straight path

leads home again,

in the end. His marriage

disintegrates

in childhood’s castles.)

 

Beyond, nothing

save slow cascade 

of water pouring nowhere.

King’s faded schooner

balances on edge

one moment neither

within nor without.

Heavy, stern dips

mast creaks and shatters.

Tipping over

she falls

following oceans

over precipice

to comprehension,

lost.

Mirrored from Rachel Swirsky.