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The Narcissians

Samuel Perry

He took a drag from his cigarette

Creased his cheeks predictably

Turned to dark of empty sky

And spoke of what he once had seen

 

Faces, boy, are models of the men we look upon

Your eyes and lines are copied from the heroes that you hold

You inherit qualities and thus you carry those who’ve gone

Ánd you gather more the more you wrinkle and grow old

 

When I was a young man and I sailed the endless sea

A thick and heavy fog once rose and wind began to blow

Tossed about and blind we sat there terrified and patiently

And with a jolt the ship was sitting on a beach of blackened stone

 

We ventured out to find some sign of where we'd ended up

Fog had died and now we spied the mountains through the woods

We set off through brush to find some help with any luck

Before we could set sail we'd need repair and drink and food

 

We'd gotten lost and stumbled to a village built from stone

And tears of joy turned bitter when we noticed no one there

But skeletons with stonelike skulls of smooth and ceaseless bone

Lying scattered in each room before each gazing mirror

 

There was nothing that we spoke about the things we saw

We found their fields where grain still grew and gathered what we could

Leaving from that curséd place we heard a Raven call

Ánd we set off back to ship through quiet foggy wood

 

Faces, boy, are models of the men we look upon

If we have no heroes, we can only gaze within

Your selfhood needs immortal forms of those who’ve taught and lived and gone

Lest eyes grow shut with bone and you shall suffocate on skin

 

He took a drag from his cigarette

Creased his cheeks predictably

Turned from dark of empty sky

And tossed his light into the sea

Fall, 2019 Issue