He had forced flowers—thin,
crenulated bells—tied on the naked stunted
trees of his closed court—enticements—
and when withered, replaced.
Taken to his side as he moved from bed
to chair to table on the porcelain floors,
a perch, unused but ready, its crossed
bars laid with seeds and jewels.
He sat arranged in his dragon dress, and his books
came. The slaves and quiet children
in white robes dragged them to his feet
on old carpets and lifted page over page
while he waited all day unspeaking
the evening custom of the valuable bird that,
plainest gray and held only by air
above the falling crown of sunset,
sang to light the heart’s dark lantern.
from Inside Spiders
Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.