Tuesday 29 November 2022

Poem - Journey at Night - by Károly Bari - Translated from Hungarian by Gabor G Gyukics





Journey at Night

by Károly Bari


1

Time covered by sky.

Indifference.

The expressible shapes and spaces of being

are not buffeting

entangled in densely woven denominations,

they are waiting for the fate.

The beginning is like

a captive in a gladiator’s net.

I’ll leave the vastness of bird flown

rays,

the armpit smelling Summer subway,

the slush of the winter city,

the tiny room

the simple peacock whispering to mirrors.

Twilight makes space to become its lair.

Wondering

hits a gap on the side of unrepeatable,

through the gap one can see all the way back

to the origin

and to a revolving fiery sword surrounded

tree.

And the train’s running and zigzagging in the night.

 

2

Those I’ve conjured in my thought are here with me.

All the church servants are here

in the cabin of the wagon attached to the buffet car,

the badges’ bowing in their hands

as we passed them.

The one who lay in a grave for three day is here too,

and the orator who spoke on the sound of the flooding river

who fastened his thin camel hair clothes with

a leather belt on his body.

They are with me.

Behind me the sparkling trolley lines

and the nylon foils slapped by the wind

up on a construction scaffolding.

Before me

the summer walking on golden stilts in the wheat,

hushed towns, villages,

people sleeping in station waiting rooms

tossing and turning between bars of perspiration,

with extended train whistles

the invisible horizon was approaching,

where the night sky and Earth meet,

where the millstones of darkness copulate.

 

3

I stand in the hallway by the lowered window

in the wind-disturbed pattern of the dim light.

The masked days are over.

The train is taking me home

at the edge of fields of corn casting their tassel away,

along streams wrapped around the waist of willow trees,

covered with dried foliage branches,

in the countryside of well deep ditches.

 

The biblical brothers might have thrown

their beautiful, dream-reader brother into such a ditch.

I’ll go where

there are no deceit,

delusions of dreams,

dishonesty,

where there are no humiliations,

no need for grate helmet and wire shirt

for meetings,

because there is no stabbing, cutting.

And I remember the one who descended

and opened the chest

cleaned the heart

and filled him with faith.

 

4

I’ll go there

what I have never left,

I was always there in the house overgrown with my absence,

what happened there

that is mine

my grip didn’t die on it.

The cry of the garden rings over here

it’ll be yours when you release it.

Does this swooshing locked inside the clacking of a train define me:

my former self and the person who I will become?

Does this mean the months that sped ahead or those that are coming:

a twelve-winged fly similar to the beat of illusions?

the imagination delving in the distance inhabiting my conscience:

a hermit in the desert spinning a rope of palm fiber,

city gate towers rising from nothing,

the truth uttered by chance

- guileless light on the minefield.

 

Expressions of a storm in my breath,

the squirm of the lightning-impaled pitch-dark night,

tarp covered haystack in the back yard,

roaring, the snout of tornado,

mud crested by heavy footsteps.

 

5

Those who followed me won’t find me

when they search me as an elusive game, I’ll become a forest,

when they search me as a healing plant, I’ll become a meadow

and a testifying sob will float before them

in the air – and that’ll be me as well.

The day of the childhood cloud-war

seeps through the black gauze twined to rattle:

dogs chill under the lashes of fences in the faint heat,

cracking, dry bean pods,

as they shoot out,

and a province ruined by the commands uttered in a brigand’s lair,

its inhabitants are waiting for their own decay

like fish in putrescent ponds.

I do know that the dead bodies bringing luck have arrived promptly to the platform:

my father shakes the stern sack off him,

puts his right hand to his ear, and sings,

my brother who was run over came also,

he brought his scattered body parts from the street,

finally, my mother arrived,

crows perched on her shoulders, tugging at her bun of hair,

she shoos them, but they aren’t alarmed, they’re cawing,

such a knowledge is like propping up the blessing arm.

 

6

The whiz moving like a snake glide brilliantly so does

the storm shooting out from the index finger of darkness.

Through the ever-vibrating, rain-stained train window

it’s hardly visible:

as a drenched angel ran under a massive oak

If they would find her

they’d hack her wings and drain her blood.

people who can be deployed against anyone at any time.

they are lined up like flags inscribed on a tactical map,

in a world amazed by the dust of death.

They don’t know the engravings of stone tablets,

there are hawk’s jesses and large clawed thoughts

and fire-button-eyed sentences float around me.

And the perspective becomes transparent:

I'm young,

I reproduce thick blue foam sprouting branches

with my poems.

I’m old,

now the curbs are unstoppable mountains.

The leaves in their pockets guarding dawn

and the rivers with rock-breaking beams

pretend to be indifferent.

 

7

Everything there is, is alive

the stone,

the closing noise of the latch,

the begging bowl,

the rail tracks in the rain,

reality is imperishable breeding.

A prayer requesting miracle

spent the night in the within

the poppies encircled boundary.

As if it were smoke.

As if the fields were a rose garden from the legend

besieged by flames.

Yet only the fog built a tent out of foil.

And flowers trained to flutter swept the lands.

 

And as if from afar

from the basement of twilight

a lath tapped with a wooden hammer would call,

to set out to sanctify obedience. 

Those who were created by thought disappear:

traveling companions, the fortified towers of the gate of the city wall and the dead.

Upon arrival I’ll get off alone.

Only the clatter of my shoes is heard

in the hall of the inhabited railway station.

 

8

The words

withdraw

between the lips.

Flock of bird in stitched height

evict

their growths.

The seasons change.

And as the water drips

from the tin of the dissection table

days align

after days.

Twilight devouring shadows,

darkness maturing stars in his beard,

dew executed by the morning light,

 

round-cut, interminable white hedges in the sky.

The landscape is one adjoining sign.

Motionless road.

Forest edge.

Rumbling pheasant drills the air.

Wave walked sand.

Ocean,

written with the escape of octopuses. 

 

                                    Translated from Hungarian by gabor g gyukics 



Károly Bari

Éjszakai utazás -Journey at Night

 

1.  

Éggel fedett idő.
Részvétlenség.
A lét kifejezhető terei és formái
a sűrűszövésű megnevezésekbe gabalyodva
nem hánykolódnak,
sorsukra várnak.
Olyan a kezdet,
mint egy gladiátor hálójának foglya.
A madárjárta sugarak rengetegét
elhagyom,
el a hónaljszagú nyári metrót,
a városi sós hólét,
a kis szobát,
el a tükörnek sugdosó, egyszarvú pávát.
A helyszínt a homály teszi meg odújának.
A tűnődés
rést üt a megismételhetetlenen,
a résen át vissza lehet látni
egészen az eredetig
és egy fáig,
amely körül tüzes kard forog.
És az éjszakában fut, kanyarog a vonat.



2. Itt vannak velem a gondolatban megidézettek.
A büfékocsihoz kapcsolt vagonnak a fülkéjében
itt vannak mind a templomszolgák,
akiknek kezében hajlongtak a jelvények,
amikor elhaladt mellettük.
Itt van Ő is, aki három napig a sírban feküdt,
és itt van az áradó folyó hangján beszélő,
aki bőrövvel erősítette testére
gyér, teveszőr ruházatát.
Itt vannak velem.
Mögöttem maradnak a szikrázó trolivezetékek,
az építkezések állványzatain
szelet pofozó nejlonfóliák.
Előttem
a búzában arany-gólyalábakon lépkedő nyár,
elcsendesedett városok, falvak,
verejtékezés rácsai között forgolódók,
állomási várótermekben alvók,
elnyújtott vonatfütyülésekkel
közelítgetett láthatatlan láthatár,
ahol összeér az éjszakai ég és föld,
ahol a sötétség malomkövei párzanak.



3. Állok a folyosón a lehúzott ablaknál,
széllel zaklatott mintázatában a gyönge világításnak.
Véget értek az álarcos napok.
Hazafelé visz a vonat
címerüket hányó kukoricások szélén,
fűzfák derekára tekeredett patakok mentén,
megszáradt lombú ágakkal takart,
kútmély gödrök vidékén.
Egy ilyen gödörbe dobhatták bele
a bibliai fivérek szépséges, álomfejtő öccsüket.
Megyek oda,
ahol nincsenek álságok,
ábrándokat becéző ámítások,
őszintétlenségek,
ahol nincsenek megalázások,
nem kell rostélyos sisak és sodronyos ing
a találkozásokhoz,
mert nincsenek szúrások, vágások.
És emlékezek arra, aki alászállt
és fölnyitotta a mellkast
és megtisztította a szívet
és megtöltötte hittel.



4. Megyek oda,
ahonnan sose jöttem el,
a távollétemmel benőtt házban mindig ott voltam,
ami ott történt,
az az enyém,
nem húnyt ki rajta a szorításom.
Idáig csördül az udvar kiáltása:
csak akkor lesz a tiéd, amikor elengeded.
Ez a vonatkattogásba foglalt suhanás jelent-e engemet:
egykori önmagamat és akivé majd válni fogok?
Ez jelenti-e a tovairamlott és eljövendő hónapokat:
a tizenkétszárnyú repülést, amely mint a káprázat ütése?
Meglakja a tudatot a messzeségben motozó képzelet:
a pálmarost kötelet fonó sivatagi remete,
a semmiből kiemelkedő városkapu tornyok,
a véletlenül kimondott igazság
— gyanútlan fény az aknamezőn.
Lélegzetemben vihar kifejezései,
villámokkal átnyársalt koroméj vergődése,
leponyvázott kazal a kert alján,
recsegés, a tornádó ormánya,
nehézkes léptekkel kitaréjozott sár.



5. Nem találhatnak rám, akik utánam jönnek,
amikor befoghatatlan vadként keresnek, erdő leszek,
amikor gyógyító növényként, akkor rét,
és előttük a levegőben mindig ott úszik majd
egy tanúságtevő zokogás – és az is én leszek.
Átüt a zakatolásra csavart, fekete gézen
a gyermekkori felhő-háború napja:
az ájulatos hőségben kerítések pillái alatt hűsölő kutyák,
a megrepedő, száraz babhüvelyek,
ahogy kilövődnek,
és a rablóbarlangban elhangzó parancsokra szétvondogált tartomány,
ahogy tehetetlenül várják pusztulásukat a lakói,
mint lassan poshadó tóban a halak.
Tudom, már megérkeztek a peronra a szerencsét hozó halottak:
apám a komor zsákot lerázta magáról,
jobb kezét fülére teszi, úgy énekel,
elgázolt bátyám szintén megérkezett,
utcáról összeszedett testrészeit elhozta,
és végül megérkezett anyám,
varjak telepednek vállaira, kontyát cibálják,
hessegeti őket, de meg se riadnak, azt csiripolják,
az efféle tudás olyan, mint az áldásosztó kar kitámasztása.



6. Meg-megragyogva siklik a kígyómozgású zúgás
és a sötétség mutatóujjából előtört fergeteg.
A folyton rezgő, esőmázgálta vonatablakon át
alig lehet kivenni:
terebélyes tölgy alá szalad be egy ázó angyal.
Ha rátalálnak,
lenyiszálják a szárnyait és kifolyatják a vérét.
Mint harcászati térképbe szúrt jelzőzászlócskák,
halál porával lepett világban vannak fölsorakoztatva
a bármikor bárki ellen bevethető emberek.
Nem ismerik a táblák véseteit.
Körülöttem sólymok lábszíjai lebegnek
és nagykarmú mondatok és tűzgombszemű mondatok.
És áttetszővé válik a távlat:
fiatal vagyok,
verseimmel sokasítom
a tajtékokat rügyező, vastag, kék ágakat;
öreg vagyok,
a járdaszegélyek is meglábalhatatlan hegyeket jelentenek.
És közömbösséget színlelnek
a zsebeikben hajnalokat őrizgető falevelek


és a sziklabontó csőrű folyók.

7. Minden él, ami van,
a kő,
a zárzörej,
a koldustálka,
a vonatút az esőben,
a valóság múlhatatlan tenyészet.
Csodakérő imádság éjszakázott
a pipacsok által gyűrűbe fogott határban.
És mintha füst lenne.
És mintha a határ
a lángokkal ostromolt rózsakert lenne a legendából.
Pedig csupán a köd épített fólia-sátrat.
És lobogásra kiképzett virágok lepték el a földeket.
És mintha messziről
fakalapáccsal ütögetett léc hívóhangja szólna,
a derengés alagsorából
az engedelmesség megszentelésére indulnak.
És eltűnnek a gondolatban teremtettek:
az útitársak, a városfal megerődített kaputornyai és a halottak.
Megérkezéskor egyedül szállok le.
A néptelen pályaudvari csarnokban
csak az én cipőm kopogása hallatszik.


8

Visszahúzódnak
az ajkak közé
a szavak.
A madárcsapat-varrottas magasság
kilakoltatja
képződményeit.
És évszakok váltakoznak.
És ahogy a boncasztal bádogjáról
víz csepeg,
sorjázik
napra nap.
Árnyékokat habzsoló alkony,
szakállában csillagokat érlelő sötétség,
harmatokat kivégző reggeli fény,
kerekre nyírt, végeérhetetlen, fehér sövények az égen.
És egybefüggő jel a táj.
Mozdulatlan út.
Erdőszél.
Dörögve levegőbe fúródó fácán.
Hullámjárta homok.
Óceán,
polipok menekülésével teleírva.




Károly Bari (1952) is a poet of prodigious ability and precocious achievement who at the age of seventeen published a volume of poetry of such startling originality and power that he immediately established himself as a major figure in Hungarian literature. Bari’s poetry features arresting imagery, passionate intensity and exotic evocations of Gypsy life.

            His following publications proved that he was one of the great masters of Hungarian language. His command of the nuances of diction, his realization of the structural potential of the language’s flexible syntactical system, and his virtually palpable exploration of imagistic interconnections combined with his sensitivity to the subtleties of rhythm, tone and voice left him unmatched among his contemporaries.

            “Károly Bari explodes into our word with a poetry of throbbing hot blood that turns to coagulating soot, sky-thrashing desire and self-consuming ecstasy of guilt, flames, black night, blinding light and enigmatic symbols. The feverish heat that transcends his voice dies down at times and his words then sound tamer; his images become almost classically clear. At other times the softness of eastern lyricism surfaces in his lines.” (Géza Féja)

            The centuries-old vicissitude of the Gypsy people is one of the main subjects of his poems which are similarly concerned with the conditions of his own existence. He is a poet who turns to his people, who is self-righteous and uncompromising and who seeks to enforce his set of moral norms. He writes about the situations and customs of the Gypsy diaspora and connects them to the culture of other nations, proving a common system of motivations and emotionality.

            His poetry conveys the malaise of its people with a sensitively rich in visual cues. He is surreal in spirit. He organizes his memories and visions with conscientious editing. His imagination and his vision of reality are realistic down to microscopic detail. His metaphors are essentialized living things. He draws bold associations that turn his visions into concrete spectacle. He is not afraid of any part of language; he is at home in all of it. He does not operate via images meant to astonish, since surrealism is not an adventure for him, but a perception of the world, a mode of representation, a language of form, an expression of the truth. His pure-minded outbursts resonate throughout his works. He believes in the liberating power of surrealism, believes that the world can be changed. He fights against lies and trusts in the power of the written word. He is bold and rebellious. Behind his calmness, he works with temper, speaks in a passionate voice, is chased by his transcendent faith. Bari is grim, he can't afford to be ironic. He is not a believer in traditional constraints, but rather a combination of inner thoughts that swing back and forth as he speculates about the nature of the world. 


Gabor G Gyukics translator 

 





Arethusa and Alpheus - Sonnets by Paweł Markiewicz

 



 

Introduction to the myth

 

The myth has happened in darkness of forest,

near the old druidic altar with the stone.

It was foggy then, shrouded in last summer.

Here a fawn was born at dawn and morn - no woe!

 

Near the spring that belonged to the moony grove,

naiad Arethusa is sitting on grass.

Artemis - the soft goddess without trouble.

It is the dreamy time for the Blue Hours.

 

The Utopian time is coming with charm.

The naiad is musing about nightingales.

They were known and famous in the whole land.

Their song - for the sake of dazzling paradise.

 

Arethusa was not a mortal being.

Artemis is resting new, only dreaming.

 

Arethusa and Alpheus I


In the grove where the druid's fire sparkled at last evening,
the Naiad dreams of the righteous, dear, beauteous time.
The glade should be cleaned up after the amazing meeting
of the Olympic gods and goddesses last pretty night.

The logic of Arethusa dreams of deductive wings.
At the edge of forest the God Alpheus is waiting
for the Naiad and apollonianly propitious mind.
Having stroked the forest-like fawn, she is to him - coming.

He has hunted for wildcats at midnight with fancy - here.
The love for her is such  fabulous, gorgeous musing
about the ontologically perfect Golden Fleece.
The love is lost delight and only stardust of feelings.

She should become his amaranthine wife - the virgin.
for life in depths of unending artemislike timbers!

 

Arethusa and Alpheus II


If dear Arethusa miswedded,
she would sully tender crystal soul.
She is going home quickly - away,
dreaming of scintilla of the morns.

Don't pick musing flowers of my hope!
Leave me alone and my wizardries!
Moony paradise seems to be lost.
The naiad escapes soon from the forest.

On ship towards Ortygia-island,
she meets captain, the former pirate
and three divers with pearls in the hand.
They want to dream and sleep, it is late.

The captain remember the midnight storm.
Naiad
's homeland becomes indeed lost.

 

At the sea II


She must find motherland in exile.
Legendary seagulls are flying.
The country of sailors is the sea.
The waves of Poseidon are dreaming.

She can praise the morns - the charming dawns,
full of celestial spirits of spell.
The dreameries rest in new homeland,
which shimmers over the meek vessel.

Despite this Artemis
´ forest lives,
where stags and does dance, muse forever.
She think about the ambrosial tears.
She listens to choir of pearls divers.

Naiad begins praying to Artemis
just in the most Apollonian ways.

 

The prayer senso stricto


Owl from the grove listens to prayer.
The most propitious and gorgeous words.
Let moony star-like memories fly!
Goddess sleeps in alluring forest!

Your roe is so appealing and grand!
Your hedgehog is handsome, good-looking!
Your bear is so cute and delicate!
Your squirrel is so fascinating!

Enrapture the beauteous diamond!
Beguile the splendid - classy agate!
Enthrall the angelic emerald!
Allure the bright - divine sapphire!

The wings of birds need to enchant world.
Star of philosophers - next to owl.

 

in Dreameries


Arethusa embellishes a dawn,
bewitches the fantasy of the moon
with ravishing, resplendent stars,
becomes bucolic dreams of the gods.

She is such a good, cute Eden.
or an apollonian Arcadia
land that was eternally Promised,
as the mirth of Eudemonia.

Be charm fulfilled such epiphany!
It is from an ontology - child.
I wish you were from eternity.
She would be the perpetual stream.

Sempiternity is immortal.
Her stream-becoming is eternal.

 

At the oracle


God Alpheus was at the Pythia.
He needed a plethora of feelings.
She looked at the ancient amphora.
Eudemonia would be clear in dreams.

The oracle wanted to
help yet them
Pythia, having drunk, told the pure truth.

She told: The Naiad was on the isle.
she is spring - such a heaven, so blue.

Pythia wrote for Apollo poetry
about dreamiest mysterious from wind,
as well as of stolen Golden Fleece
about apollonianly soft mirth.

Long live an eternal oracle!
May poems be the most delicate!

 

End-sonnet


The poem is an obol.
The nightingale is singing.
The naiad needs from live more.
The lover is new dreaming.

Styx - river of destiny.
The God would be the river,
through the dreamed eternity.
They become philosophers.

I love the stoic sparklets
of Arethusa - naiad,
and of the brave Alpheus,
so beautiful is the time.

I want to finish sonnets,
in dreams of the Grecian myths.


Paweł Markiewicz was born 1983 in Siemiatycze in Poland. He is poet who lives in Bielsk Podlaski and writes tender poems, haiku as well as long poem.



Monday 28 November 2022

Three Poems by Lynn White

 



Green Dragon


 

Does the ghost believe what he's seeing

as the green dragon floats by

breathing rainbows

from flower filled puffs of breath.

Would you believe it?

Would I

believe it?

After all,

this is not the usual sort of dragon

whose fire filled breaths register alarm.

But alarm registers, nevertheless,

as this is not the usual sort of dragon

and none of us are sure

what will happen next.

 


 

Metamorphosis

 

 

It should be the dragon that breathes fire,

that’s him there above the horse,

but he’s quiet and calm 

in tune with the sweet music

quite breathless just now

while in flight

clearly 

still

in metamorphosis.

It’s the horse that looks dangerous,

his breath steaming

about to catch

fire

no doubt 

about it

they will surely change places

when their metamorphosis 

is completed

and the music stops.

 

First published in Mehfil, June 2020

 


 

I was Always Afraid Of Rabbits


 

“I was always afraid of rabbits”

said the purple dragon.

I knew it to be true.

I’d known him for a long time,

long before I became a witch

and took to the water

to watch over him.

It’s the white ones he fears most

and they are mostly white ones

down here.

He won’t eat them.

He used to eat fish

but now he is afraid to eat them

now he’s seen them eating the rabbits.

They’ve eaten the fur off this one,

but he believes it was white

and believing is seeing

after all.

The fish have eaten everything

except for the head and eyes

the most fearsome parts

for the purple dragon.

It’s found him now,

he pushes it away in panic

but it won’t go,

it won’t go.

It’s covering his face,

taking it over 

and getting ready

for the rest.

It won’t go,

not unless I can grasp it,

and hold it

peel it off

take it away,

then bewitch them both.

 

First published in With Painted Words, October 2018









Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Gyroscope Review and So It Goes. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/


The Butcher - Short Story by Relvin Gonzalez Rodriguez

 



 

The Butcher

 

by Relvin Gonzalez Rodriguez

 

"Now," Alpha said.

They were deep in the forest, Alpha and the others, and their fur soaked with the last of the Spring cold showers.

Czar started moving, but Alpha stopped him with a soft growl.

Alpha pointed with his snout at an oblivious rabbit. “Omega, go.”

A few bushels hid their bodies. Omega froze and left the rabbit wide open for Czar to take charge. With one jump, he came out of his position and bit the rabbit's shoulder. Aztek came out from a different angle and chewed on the rabbit's feet. Alpha looked at Omega for a moment, then turned to walk towards the prey.

The brothers in the pack had spent the aftermath of the hunt pointing their snouts and mocking Omega. It was between whimper and growl, the valley where anything left alone long enough will evolve, and rivers run with unpredictable currents, where Omega jolted from everything. From a hill a few meters high, Alpha, the father and group leader, stared at his sons and glanced for moments at the horizon, and at this height he forced his eyes to see more than what they conceded.

It was in the last few years, when a group of human hunters ambushed the forest and killed the mother, Accalia, and the youngest female, Ziva. Three human males held back Alpha as he watched the remaining two slaughter Accalia. He remembered the way the air smelled that day; the must after a downpour, the sound of deceitful uneventfulness, the peace and dangers of nature, the high top trees swaying and wet leaves rustling down, gentle and somehow colorful as they skewed in and out of sunlight, and the sound of boots as they stumped upon the Earth. Czar and Aztek saw it too, though they were too young to recall it anywhere outside their night terrors. Omega, the oldest of the three, remembered everything.

Shame and anger propelled Omega forward, somewhere across the forest. The children never scouted alone, even if they were of age, but he longed to tell his wordless story to the mud and the trees and rest alone where he could howl at the moon and listen in silence long enough to see if it would answer.

Alpha sauntered towards the remaining sons.

“Find him,” he said.

“But he is old enough,” Czar said. Aztec assented.

After a good hundred yards, Omega made a stop and leaned against the rough bark of pine. He dried his tears with the top of his right paw when the sound of bushels ruffling two meters forward stopped him. He saw what he had been waiting for, a chance to prove himself. A joyful little girl gathered apples, danced to no music, and sang to no audience. The girl’s cherry red overcoat hid her pale Brazilian satinwood hair, though strands of it curled and peaked out to the sides. Omega looked at the half moon still lingering in daylight, and then back at the girl.

From the dark stepped forward the wolf. He featured his fangs and tranced toward her. The girl backed away and gripped her basket. An apple rolled on the ground and touched one of Omega’s paws. When he raised his gaze, she was gone.

Behind Omega, a few contemptuous chuckles from his brothers interrupted the silence.

“Father seeks you,” Aztec said.

Alpha saw the shapes of his sons approaching and allowed the world to become blurry again.

“Omega,” the father said.

His eldest marched past him and curled in a corner and thought of her in the reddish fever of her memory. Omega wished to see her again. He was at that age, Alpha thought. He wished to find something; a thing which is missing but has no name. If for a moment, in the expanse of life, that illness takes you by storm, so shall I wait it out, Alpha thought, and allow him to find his way back at the edge of the impossible. But for every dozen ducks in a row you get one that can’t quite float still, and one day, in the universal fall of growth, spreads its wings and learns it was an eagle all along. And so Omega rose before the sun, carried forward by the influence of the wind, and allowed himself to be kidnapped by unknown forces. Alpha saw him, smiled, and went back to sleep.

Omega walked into a clearing. A group of houses formed a circle and stood erect before him, each pointing to the opposite side. He followed the scent of apple to one wooden doorstep. Omega leaned on the door on its two front legs and knocked at the base of his forehead. Twice he struck as hard as he could. The door opened.

An old woman knelt down and hugged Omega.

“I have been waiting for you,” she said. “It’s been far too long.”

There were pies stacked on the marble countertops, each one decorated with a layer of various stencil or lattice patterns, and the oven’s timer had just passed 40. The old lady grabbed a pie, crumbled the aluminum off the top, and put it on the floor.

“They are all for you,” she said. “I just need some rest.” She turned off the oven and collapsed on her bed with the grace of an airless feather.

He opened the door to the bedroom and took a timid bite of her finger. The old lady smiled and petted him on the head. Omega felt a rush of blood, a blinding explosion, and bit off her entire hand. Omega bit and chew until the black hole of eternal spoilage pulled the last bit of both their lights in. For a few seconds, the only sound was the drops of blood dripping from Omega's mouth. He looked at a small puddle that had formed from the droplets. The reflection tried to be him but failed.

One knock, two knocks, and two quicker ones followed. Omega turned to an open closet in the grandmother's bedroom and pulled down a nightgown with his bloody teeth. He became her, and the child’s smile became wide when she saw him. In a hug which felt more like an impulse, he smelled into consciousness a flash of his mother and the men that hacked at her, and a short whimper bursted out. 

She rubbed his forehead just above the eyes, pressing on his skull. “There, there,” she said. “I better take these to the kitchen.”

A drawer rolled open, and the contents clinked on its full stop.

“Grandma, I brought you more apples. Do you think today will be the day?”

Cold steel pressed against the side of the wolf's stomach. It’s just an apple, she muttered. Again through the shoulder, it’s just an apple, and once in the back. Omega saw the world turn 90 degrees as he fell on his side. The child stood still and defiant with a knife the size of her arm.

Omega stood on five inches of snow, and an Inca rope bridge appeared in front of him. The bridge swung and whipped to the sides, and the hail hammered the steps and collapsed with each blow. Accalia and Ziva howled at the other side.

“It is time,” Accalia said.

The wind pulled him closer to the first step. Omega pressed his paws into the snow, but they slid forward.

“It’s time. It’s time. There’s nothing you can do.” Ziva said.

“How can this be it, if I never was?” Omega said.

And the storm subsided, the bridge vanished, the mother and sister disintegrated, all his memories forgotten, and last to leave was the reflex to reach out and salvage that which has fallen into an endless well.

The child cut an inch deep into Omega’s skin. A few hours later, like an expert at her trade, she had created a mangled coat out of the wolf's fur, his face still attached at the top. She put on her jacket and went out to the woods with the bloody knife inside her basket. She put Omega's face on hers, and her eyes blinked inside the holes that used to harbour Omega’s vision. Her blonde hair came out to the sides. It was cold out, and the night was near. She grabbed on to the sides of the coat and covered her torso. Outside the other six houses, the neighbors stood and nodded their approval.

The pack of wolves ate a deer on the grooves of a dell. The child descended, standing tall with her hands together.

“Omega, son, what great big eyes you have,” Alpha said.

“All the better to see you with,” the child said.

"Why do you stand on two legs?"

“All the freer my hands to kill you.”

The child pulled her hands apart, grabbed the knife, and the coat fell to the ground, and the body of a naked woman stood before them. The shape grew a foot and a half taller; her sculpted body subdued the pack. Czar and Aztek succumbed to her charge, bowing their heads and lowering their ears. They were the first ones to die by decapitation.

Alpha looked at the woman and took a step back. “Those eyes…”

“We have been looking for you,” the woman said.

Alpha closed his eyes and took a bow in surrender. “You found me.”




Relvin Gonzalez Rodriguez  -  Austin, Texas


Six Poems by R. W. Stephens

  Like Extended Haiku       Tango music muted , o pen window    Fading summer light s hadows   C hair on the porch   An empty glass       ...