Flickering behind stone

Gathering under the flickering
streetlamp,
a group of seekers
circle an old man, bent
beneath his broken threshold.

I thought the house was vacant
but cracked windows and doors
speak of neglect, not loneliness.

The children seem to want something
and there is some organization
about the scene-
moving so slowly;
almost a still-life.

I drive by slowly
unseen -or at least ignored
having felt like I was here before

but… roofs were thatched,
the earth was mostly untried,
gatherings were inside a stone corral
with fire marking the signs
of gods on earth…

the smell of smoke and soil
hung like a summer tree
laden with fruit

but this was a season of change,
of decay, and what I wanted
-and still want, though roads
are paved and children masked-
is to pluck the fruit and rest in dark.

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