A gentlemanly bet with J. Cliffe

Broke like bread at a sermon –
solemn and salubrious
for 63 roubles –
my hand shook for nothing.

You’ll pay for this,
the Arabian animal groaned.
And true to a word,
I’ll pay you this poem.

For the animal I have become –
a burgeoning ball of water tension
pulling hooves over
sandy pages of promises,
punctuated with sanctity and cirrus;
wading through the desert
like a sinking sailor
waits for an editorial wind
to carry away his own flash path,
pointing leathery telescopes
at imagined florid edges,
examining the possibilities
between vast blades of grass
and centuries of predictable biological math,
pushing their burden
to another day –
I’ll pay you this.

~ AB


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