“Lament of the Time Traveler” (poem) by Bob Rich

There, in the upper regions of the sky
Where the black circle of cloud circles slowly around the moon
Where the stars vanish into the blackness of the night
I found a glistening speck of color that reminds me
Of my mist-colored wish to travel back in time.

I would be like a lit-up Jack-o-Lantern on a Halloween night
Sitting on the darkness of the porch
Lighting the jeweled door throughout the night
And each time the door opened, a most noble woman
Would hand every guest the most regal fruit from a basket.

I would be like a triumphant golden hammer
Swinging back through time to that tall and craggly tree
Whose branches stretch out like free, jagged lightning
And I would swing with passionate precision
To that one undetectably hammered-in nail
Which had been slammed into the tree with blind, raging madness
Into the thick black wooden armor of the ancient, freshly-wounded tree
And I would pull out the unfeeling nail with one swift, arcing maneuver
As a gathering pack of dogs stared in silent, cathartic victory
With their bright, golden, compassionate eyes.

I would be like an encoded letter
Written by a wartime spy, who was walking painfully upstream
In the river of history, a letter on its way to a band of soldiers
Who were so close to the salvation of many
Who were so near to the garment of dignity
Bleary-eyed, covered with mud, staring without fear into the darkness.

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