"Tree Mohatta" by Sheheryar Hasnain  copyright 2000
Don't Stop

We've heard the traveler
stops by any window in the dusk
that welcomes him
with a young, bright candle.
That a maid bends,
her cheek, awash with promise.
That the top of a Dutch
door sends its scents
of lamb and flageolets
into the roadway.
That the innkeeper, jolly
in white, a towel
tucked in the strap
girding his fine wide belly
stands, framed as a father
on the living room wall.
All waiting for the weary one.
Every dream of comfort to be met––
the claret brought to temperature,
the bread hot with its sharp crust.

The road is stony
and the road is long.
The bats fly up at seven,
to darken the night's black eye.
The stars needle the soul.
The innkeeper drinks the wine,
beats his servant.
No one keeps the fire.

The candle flame flicks out.
The maid in the window
will cut out your heart
with a kitchen knife.
The innkeeper poisons the food.
The night holds no precious inn.
Every warmth is a dream,
every kindess a barter.

Don't stop for any sign.
Don't fall prey to rest.
Take up your journey
with resolution or
the road may be your end.

Copyright 2000  J. C.  Watson


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