barbara young

The Alchemist

The Alchemist of Scofflaw Square, practitioner
of savoir faire, entrances the multitude
with limelight elegance
in a flare of anthracite regalia.
His pale hands catch the light,
spin glowing afterimage,
dance a solemn exhibition. Secrets
of antiquity in amber vials,
promises in cobalt flasks,
a hoard of homely stoneware, bulk
against the pestilence
against the drought.
A pittance, just,
for such.
Touch tongue to what the Pharoahs tasted.
This creation, drop by drop
conforms. The formulary lost, secreted
by the magi in a silk road hidden place.
Valley under guard of jade colossi.
Golden rocs and griffins crouch above a crystal dome,
by magic fabricated to contain
a single scroll of arcane lore.
Transcribed painstakingly.
This preparation,
from the purest, simple, things
waters drawn from holy springs
rose hips
evening plum
grain of golden summer. This
remedy will heal the body’s any ill, bring peace
to wretched minds, and sleep. A coin,
or two.

Today I Make My Mother Happy

My mother liked to drive, to go.
Today, I make her young, a wild nineteen,
in trousers tailored to her like a star, not
those faded cottons. Sprigged house dresses
cramped with pastel flower shapes. Gray
bars across the belly of every one of them.
Kitchen counter edge aluminum.
Since dishes. Do not. Just wash
themselves. Today I return to her
those serious bangs from the age ten photos.
Add brilliant blue, a scarf. No.
Hoodie. With pockets. She never
fooled with purses. Give her a comb,
her drivers license, a ten for gas:
she’d be content. But today
I make her happy.
Today, she is a track and silver
Maserati, and she flies, drifts
and corners like
a devil.

Barbara Young continues to age without grace in Tennessee. She previously appeared in CSHS #1.

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