By David Harsent
They bring with them a coldness, as tradition demands,
and a light, dry odor of rot
much like worm in wood, and bring a chorus of cries
to fill the air as if it were birdsong, and bring in their open hands
tokens of themselves, a letter, a snapshot,
and bring some trace of their point of departure, a smudge
on the shoe, a stain on the sleeve, and bring the disguise
they lived under, stitched with their names,
hoping you’ll give them the nod, hoping you’ll recognize
something, perhaps, of the old times, the fun and games,
while they shuffle up as if they stood on the edge
of night so a nudge would tip them over, and bring
a dew of death that settles on picture frames,
on pelmets, on clothes in the closet, on books,
on your eyelash, to make a prism through which you get
a broken image of what must be a stage set
of the Peaceable Kingdom, a front
for that place you only ever find in dreams,
its undrinkable rivers, its scrubland of snarls and hooks,
horizons gone askew,
beasts hamstrung and walking on their hocks,
and bring their long-lost hopes, which they lay at your feet
then stand back, stand apart,
hairless, soft-skinned, their eyes bright blue
like the eyes of the newborn, and bearing a look
of matchless sorrow, as would, for sure,
stop the heart of whoever it is they take you for.
I went to the doctor Friday morning, forgetting my blood pressure monitor which was the main reason I was supposed to have an appointment this week -- so she could download the readings and make sure it was calibrated right -- but she took my blood pressure three times while I was there and it was around 120/85 each time, so that was all good news. She had my CBC and had some recommendations based on that -- more vitamin D and calcium, multivitamins with iron because I was borderline anemic (I used to be the opposite, but I haven't eaten red meat for more than 10 years), and she wants me to have a liver ultrasound because some enzyme level was marginally boosted, which she suspected was from fat buildup that will go away if I lose weight but wanted to check just to be sure. I'm supposed to avoid both alcohol and caffeine, which fortunately is not great loss -- I miss sharp cheese much more than I'd miss either.
In the afternoon I posted my review of Next Gen's "Imaginary Friend" -- not one of the fifth season's best -- and took Adam and his friend to another friend's birthday party at Shadowlands, the laser tag place where both my kids have had birthday parties in the past. I was going to drop them off and let the friend's mom pick them up, but traffic was bad getting up there and the party was only an hour an 15 minutes, so instead I browsed in the used bookstore run by friends of our county library where one always finds treasures for $2-3 (in today's case, all three issues of the Magic Flute graphic novels, a low-sodium cookbook, a couple of books for the kids, and -- no laughing -- the Rankin-Bass Lord of the Rings and Return of the King on DVD for $3).
We had dinner with my parents (stuffed flounder, there can never be too much seafood), then came home and watched Smallville, which other than having yet another instance of Lois in need of rescuing was enormous fun, highly reminiscent of Superman II in some ways and hahahaha the Wonder Twins! Starring that girl from Warehouse 13! Plus I always love seeing Doug Witter from Dawson's Creek (and John Sheppard's brother too, as I recall). Then we watched Sanctuary, which I liked because it was a Henry episode with werewolf storyline, but found creepy otherwise, and it definitely wasn't one of Helen's finest moments not to have seen what was going on with her staff before it turned violent.