Delicate fingers grasp the pencil as it dances,
dots and dashes linger in its wake,
until such time they become smudged and need retracing,
the drawing meant to fill the canvas taking shape.
A sparkling voice rings out distinctly from somewhere down the hall
and all the mice are drawn to sounds of robust trilling.
Swift runs, so warm and rich, bounce gaily off the walls.
A private concert of this caliber-how thrilling!
The gathered crowd draws closer still toward those dulcet tones,
yet no applause or “oohs” and “ahhs” are heard.
When they reach the door from beyond which this melodiousness comes
what was once thought beautiful quickly turns absurd.
Their darling diva, it turns out, and the concert she’s been giving
has not been staged inside a fancy hall.
For in a rush she flushed and surprised her fans as she was leaving
with the glare of shiny sinks and toilet stalls.
The thousands of caravans that traveled this way,
luckier than I,
have found the wheel-worn mud a help,
whereas I have found hindrance.
Everything I own sits tightly packed
in my wagon,
now leaning heavily to one side,
and I dig for my life under a starless sky.
I dig and dig until my arms give out,
my spirit wearied,
and sink to my knees like a stone
in the grip of rushing water.
This trail is unkind to those that wait
on the whims
of the wolves or the weather.
Summer is waning and the nights grow cold.
So, wherein the mud my wagon remains,
I begin again,
turning into the wind and toward the gold
buried deep within the hills of my pounding chest.
Thank you for joining me. I am so glad you’re here!