Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Alchemist

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The Alchemist


Umber smoke, flashed flame,
a bizarre stench: all this delights
the alchemist, whose brow
and cheeks are carbon-smudged.

The base metals stare up
at him like indifferent pets.
He stares back, smiling.
The alchemist knows gold

is far off, welded to quartz
inside mountains under snow.
Facts are tedious to know.
In the windowless room

allowed him, the alchemist
transforms fact into gilded
hope. His crucible holds
a desire: that wealth can

come from want, reverence
from boredom, love from
indifference. He breathes
the fumes of failure and smiles.

Golden bees of possibility hum
inside the realistic head of
the alchemist, who must go to
his job the next day: welding

gray cargo-ships beside the bay.
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