PONCE DE LEON
He drank from cupped hands and soon felt younger, stronger,
though the creases remained around the eyes.
Walking back through the forest, his knee didn’t hurt
from that old football injury. Back in his own bed,
he found that he didn’t have to get up twice at night and pee.
His shoulder no longer ached in the morning. Rejuvenated,
he divorced the wife and bought a sportscar. He met a girl
with nose rings and a tattoo in Chinese. (She’d forgotten what it said.)
They motored together for a weekend in Vegas.
It all would have worked except for the memories that trailed him.
Checking in at the hotel, the patterned carpet reminded him
of the leaves he had pushed through to reach the gushing waters
of youth. He recalled that water’s taste, as he drank from a plastic
bottle that cost five bucks. That untapped fountain, he knew,
had given back everything except time and innocence.
That was gone forever. When she asked him, “Why you so sad, Ponce?”
He only smiled wearily and shook his head. (Like her father, she thought.)
He returned his glance to young bodies frolicking in the hotel’s pool,
near to the Jacuzzi’s gurgling promise.
(On hearing “Dead Moon Ritual” by K.K. Null and James Plotkin)
Pounding coming from a place where only fire gave light.
Slow, hard strokes in1/8 time on rusted bulkheads.
Deep within the iron bowels, sound forged
from a hard hand lifting a hammer with a death grip spilling
sweat shiny and silvery as Mercury. Clang with reverb.
It could be a signal, a distress call or a warning, emissary
from a sunken mariner, spark-making fist flaying the ocean floor.
Each heavy blow makes thick vibrations that rise to the surface.
We heard the sound leagues away and could not help, only listen.