“On the Plaza” by Clay Waters

the recurring colonnades
offered the illusion
of progress, vital calamity

passed into oblivion;
how little were things changed.

the sun tilts the shadows upright,
passes blind through antique glass;
the colors of old skirmish
slumped down to the sash
pellucid, unsanctified

around the fountain
faint runneled ridges run,
unique impressions
of unknowns

did they dance?
did they drown?
the dust keeps its secrets.

That morning the shadows curled
to make a fist
the one who counted the teeth
now leans over a dead pool
reflecting only crumbled colonnade

Will the vulture pluck your tears?
Will the tarantula linger over your cheeks?
What would wait so long
even to haunt your decrepitude?

The summoning voice
long abandoned all its creations:
The scratched message claws
no significance
out of echo-less air

The one that named you is dead
and the past is a sealed window
no blade even
to quell your heart,
perversely beating.

Were you, after everything,
always so alone?

Clay Waters has had poems published in The Santa Clara Review, Roanoke Review, Literal Latte, and Poet Lore. His website is claywaters.org, featuring his self-published cozy mystery novel Death in the Eye. Clay lived in Florida until the age of four and recently returned to find it hasn’t changed a bit. Three of his six memories from that first stop involve the alphabet, which in retrospect was a bit of a tell.

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