In the Emperor’s Employ


The playful dead drag their bones
The sultan roars
Pigeons high in the rafters
Glance disapprovingly
at the (interlocutor)

Cause of the ruckus

‘I’ve lost my marbles’
Cries he
The little one.
In a big ringing voice
‘Find them’

And softly counting
(and cursing under my breath)
I wait
For the queen to shout

‘Get your brother his marbles
or whatever’

And that little imp
‘s smirk will turn into a baleful brow

When I announce my escape,

‘Sure, I’ll check the garden.

and place the burden

‘Hey Dave, take care of Rob

On my sleepy eldest sibling.
whose defenses at this hour are
still scattered across the town
snoring in their booze

I’ll make sure

The time of day
and the point of return
Meet past noon
while I’m making miles
Across the highway

Out riding my bike.