Night falls. Nothing seems broken. Nothing has changed that anyone can see.
Walls stand. A ceiling stretches across the branches of petrified trees.
Bulbed lights leashed to rafters obediently switch places with the stars, the moon,
and fall with the downcast eyes of betrayal upon the polished floor.
Old women in stiff soles the black robes laced upon their bare feet when they were young
tilt buckets, bend to scrub the marble tiles - shallow tombs upon the dust where drums
once beat when their bare feet ground the earth - and pretend to let no memories rise.
Muttered whispers pour from their mouths.
The Triple-eyed-face, third eye turned inward, sits at the table peering,
shuffling through his favorite thought. He collects a few hands, a few eyes,
a few hearts, and tosses them in. When they're gone he draws a few more.
The old women collect in a corner, spinning. Hands keep spinning, spinning,
reaching for the moon. It's just old women. No one notices.
Old men sit against walls of blackened out stars, blue smoke from pipes toked
curls a tattoo across their palms. Another memory rises, another reach, another moon.
A bow is drawn, a string glides across the underbelly of a wave. The piano
sails in from another continent. A reed descends solo footed onto the tiles.
Young bodies, rigid in black cloth stitched against the looseness of their joy, stride
with well placed steps between the pools of light cast down upon the polished floor.
This is a sophisticated dance. No one sings.
The old men drape memories across the high heels, spiked kicks, slicked back hair
and drop matches, smoldering, at their feet. All that's left of the old women
are their spinning, spinning hands reeling in the moon.
She draws a mask across her eyes, approaches the table in one slow turn and sits down.
Ombre tones in languid waves pour from her face. The Triple-eyed face, two eyes leering,
deals the cards. One by on they land flat and floating, face up.
The numbers are always the same. They never change. She knows that.
"Win or loose, there's no in between, numbers never lie," laughs the Triple-eyed-face.
He laughs again and tosses a spade over his shoulder, "I win."
Another grave is dug, another tile is laid in another hollow room.
Voices sing softly, sha na na
in a language no one knows.
Little hands stitch straight lines
in the fabric piled before them.
Who's to say, who's to see
the little hands are broken,
who's to listen to their song?
She rises, opens the window, reaches up, lifts the moon from the sky, turns
and offers it to him. "A gift? Too mystic." says the Triple-eyed-face,
third eye hinged against emotion. He reaches for her cards.
She smiles, replaces the moon. It tilts and out comes pouring
the mellowed howl of a pent up wind.
(note: finally edited and now titled The Hollow Room (2016)