Ancient Tale

Ancient Tale

He carried her a rose on a bicycle, through a snowstorm,
across a bay of splintering ice. She kindly let him down.

So much floods between two lovers you can wring them together
like two oil rags and ten thousand birds will spill their guts.

One by one the people made of onyx snuffed their torches. Looked.
The sharp, invasive shape of the moon: a hook in the lip of the dark.

We are here for such a short moment—so sweet, so easily
forgotten—laugh, weep, make love on a lily pad in a pond of honey.

There was screaming, and a big smack like a god had slipped
on the golden sky-lit floor; and in the cave of her mouth a small fire.

He came back to collect his things: axe, gaff hook, half
the coal and two wolf pelts. Loaded the canoe and left the baby.

by Ryan Dowling