After the chattery drive,
the long line and more words,
the pilgrimage, our tales told
as we came, then he, whose words
sometimes sit on the page, blank-eyed
like the Hobby Lobby painted-faced
scarecrow on the table here looking
past me, but whose words sometimes
swirl to life as I speak them,
as if the watering hose might
twist and hiss in my hand,
and then the thoughts, the connections
fade in, not out, like photos
in their chemical baths in red-lighted
dark rooms. His eyes smiled
as he signed, his voice generous
despite the shove of time, the same,
the same, just genial. But when I
said the one I learned by heart,
there was a different light.
Not a celebrity. Not a celebrant.
A truth flared up from the comfort
of embers for a moment even there.
Just the title, charged, like a coded
message passed by spies in old Istanbul.

This is only words, only a mystery,
only another waking from the dead.

Carol Hamilton