The Blind Poet

The diver stood where the bed had been, and so the Duchess demanded, where would she rest her head in the house of the host?

“Here,” spoke a man with dark spectacles.

“Here, on this side of the white curtains,” he tapped his hand to the hardwood floor, beside where he sat.

“Here, make this one room home smaller. Here, where you can see yourself sleep and hear yourself mumble, where all the doors will surround you.”

The man with dark spectacles stood, opened the front door, and walked out into the courtyard.

“The blind poet speaks,” said the diver of the man with dark spectacles.

“Yes,” the Duchess understood, “His spectacles were once storms, but lightning struck glass so often, they’ve burned black. He was the one whom the host knew as Storm Keeper, but his storms became poems and his poems became words. And now, as we know, even words have grown scarce. He writes with his tongue and speaks seldom.”

In the courtyard, the blind poet did not look to the sky. In a land without storms, rain meant nothing, and the cool air loved him as a ghost. An orange tabby purred at his ankles, and so he knelt and caressed behind its ears. Whenever he pet a cat, he worried it might bite. A cat only gives subtle clues about its intentions, clues one can spot but not hear or touch. And so the blind poet kept his distance from the arrival of the fourth.

Soon the small room would become crowded.

The Duchess and the Diver

The Duchess drew back the white curtains to reveal a sopping wet diver in a rubber suit, surrounded by a baker’s dozen white rabbits.

“And what have you been doing?” demanded the Duchess of the diver. “Announce yourself, and we will know you as the Diver, with a capital D!”

But the diver shook his head no. He had been diving for words, words that made him wet. And his spirit shown brightly as he removed his diver’s mask to reveal bright eyes and a smile. (But still his ears remained beneath his rubber cap.)

The Duchess grew envious of the diver and his refusal, but she maintained her calm. “Tell me, should not a diver demand of the curator to become a learned man, to know his work? If the diver is no one, and he dives only for the museum, then what is the ocean but a shallow pool?”

To this, the diver replied, “You will know when I bring you strange creatures rather than pearls, that I dive the trenches.”

But the Duchess knew also the value of a pearl necklace, and so she snatched a rabbit by its ears and broke its neck. This she did also to the second rabbit, then the third. She continued with all the rabbits until she reached for the thirteenth, which she spared.

The Duchess

The Duchess fussed with white curtains and spoke aloud so no one would hear:  “Speak not of eyes because everyone knows eyes are everything, and to speak about what everyone knows means nothing to no one.”

I must take down the curtains, she thought.  No, first I must shred the curtains.  No, first burn the curtains, then shred them, then take them down.

There were twelve. Twelve from childhood, each with its own position in a circle, in relation to the others. But she could not remember them. She thought perhaps if she tried to write their names on a page, then they would all make themselves known. Or perhaps they would change. After all, they were only an idea, the twelve. An idea of completeness, complete aspects to rule one, equal to three times four, a cycle and divinity.

She left the curtains up and closed them to create a wall. Behind them, she would rest her giant head until the twelve bled from her ears, as her eyes and mouth were clearly preoccupied.