The eye of hope searches for homefires
just beyond the blooming desert
where dunes are oceans,
and sands blow like rain
or pass in peace through the hourglass.
The dark eye sees shadows beyond
the sands of fallen stars, sees dunes
as beaches where body and hope
might wash ashore and sink
beneath the grains of time.
Mirages cross both eyes,
and the hand of truth
passes through them
like a homeless ghost.
On the road to a better world,
your cycle runs out of gas in a place
that is not a dot on your map,
a compound that seems to be both garden
and graveyard, a point in the past
where your pride might take a stand.
You need to belong and to believe
this is the better world, though the wise
wind at your back blows your hat further
down the road, whispers that you should not
stop here for longer than it takes to catch
your breath. But your empty heart
wants to float in this bubble of pure air,
your breathing in rhythm with your brothers’,
content in a bubble that will never burst,
no need to know the next mile
or what is growing there.
Let my cauldron of anger not erupt
and speak of our crumbled homes.
Let what is left of my kindness repair
your hope for a better place, see the good
in leaves barely holding on, in a sunrise
setting fire to an oozing orange sky,
in a shelter of wind on the edge of a cliff,
and in love that is known
only from ancient texts.
No, let my tongue not stutter
on what is left of hope, say that roads
are circles of rediscovery, rexcavated lands
whose trapped air blows back this way
and cools the lava in our hearts.
I am asleep at the wheel of fortune
whirring and wheezing around
the pivot point of paralysis.
I cannot steer off this round road
where no dreams come true.
The wheel is spinning out of control,
circling itself like a clock,
rattling like the tension of a held breath
waiting to exhale itself into wildest wind.
Robert S. King lives in Athens, GA, where he serves on the board of FutureCycle Press and edits the literary journal Good Works Review. His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Chariton Review, Hollins Critic, Kenyon Review, Main Street Rag, Midwest Quarterly, Negative Capability, Southern Poetry Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He has published eight poetry collections, most recently Diary of the Last Person on Earth (Sybaritic Press 2014) and Developing a Photograph of God (Glass Lyre Press, 2014). His personal website is www.robertsking.info.