For the first time in WEP history, I missed an entry.
But I do not enter to win but to honor my friend, Denise Covey.
So in that spirit here is my entry:
Where do the words go?
The words we should have said, the words that lodged deep in our throat because our heart was in it.
I am Lucanus.
Once I stopped at a stable upon hearing the cries of a young girl giving birth.
I was called a physician, though over the centuries I learned how little I deserved the title.
I helped as best I could at the time. I was forty-five. Since then I have stayed looking the same.
Is this punishment or reward for my inept attempts to help? I have never decided.
None still live who could say.
Like a ghost through a wall, I pass in and out of so many human lives, leaving a piece of my soul behind.
I have become a coward.
It tears at me to see those I care about slowly wither into caricatures. I leave them when they start to age and begin to look at me strangely.
Rachel had been so difficult to leave – she of the smoky soul and the hearth-fire eyes.
Now, I sat at her Victorian desk with the rolled cover and many drawers. It took years for the lawyers to find me, telling me I was the executor of her will.
The taxes were long overdue. I paid them.
Anthony Trask, the senior partner of the law firm that finally found me, glared down his fine patrician nose at me.
“Rachel was a wood-fire spirit, sir. She spoke often of you with such loss, I cringe to remember the sound of those words. She wrote you a note should you ever care enough to return. It is the only drawer that is locked, the second down to your left. Here is the key.”
He stood over me much like a vulture or perhaps just a man who thought his friend deserved better.
I took the key and opened the drawer. It was empty but for one time-stained page. I read it:
“Any minute now
the words will replay themselves
within the mind’s ear;
the jester and the singer
fail at last,
juggler of hearts
and orphan of the crossroads
footing lost, voice broken,
embracing in the downward spinning
the clown takes up the cry,
catch the heart’s staccato,
into the mind’s tomb.”
The poem’s epilogue pierced my own heart: “I waited for you, my love. You never came back.”
Trask asked, “The estate and grounds are yours. What would you have me do with them?”
I thought of Rachel’s abandoned heart and said, “Make them an orphanage.”