Two old tramps are waiting by the wayside,
Their pale eyes swimming with cataracts
And memories long gone under the unconscious,
Their tear-filled eyes reflect the world that
Passes them by. This road on the edge of the
Earth smells like car exhaust and human
Exhaustion. Like the sweat of Atlas, and tarragon,
Like the dream envisioned last night, and forgotten
In the haze of the morning that never truly came.
Two little boys are hiding in the barn loft,
Burrowed under the hay. Happy bubbles of laughter
Smothered as the straw rustles traitorously beneath their
Small, unmoving bodies. The shadow of a decrepit
Old man, flowing white beard, spindly, broken body
Hunched over a birch-wood cane. He is a dying god,
He is Lear on the heath, malachite ring on his left
Hand, as he storms across the earth, resuscitating
Things long dead and buried, and reopening scars.
Two men clad in suits sit at opposite ends of a table,
Picking at carrion and wild nettles on their plates.
One is provided for by providence, a proverbial devotee
Of the human condition, of whips and chains, of the
Doctrine of honey-sweet exploitation. The other is
Beautiful like the moon, a curtain of long hair silvered
Over before its time, patron saint of the freedom songs
Which will never crawl their way out of his throat, and
A dancer in the starlight, a plaintive cry for help.
Nicole S. Entin is a teenage poet, writer, playwright, and essayist living in Toronto. Her poetry has been featured numerous times in anthologies published by the Poetry Institute of Canada, and won second prize in the youth category of the Open Ages National Poetry Contest. Her full-length play, Locked in a Room, was produced for the National Theatre School Festival, winning an Award of Merit for playwriting. Her latest play, In the Chocolate Boxes, had a staged reading in October 2019 at Alumnae Theatre’s Next Stage Readings series. She is also a youth member of the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada. She will soon be moving on to the next chapter of her life, as she pursues studies in English and Comparative Literature at the University of St. Andrews, UK.