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A Carpet Not Bought

World at his feet,
Labor of generations—
No wonder the veins race.
In old Kazanjian’s
Own words, “Love that carpet.
Forget the price.”

Leaving the dealer’s,
It was as if he had
Escaped quicksand. He
Climbed his front steps, head
High, full of dollars.
He poured the wife a brandy—

And that night not a blessed
Wink slept. The back yard
Lay senseless, bleak,
Profoundly scarred
By the moon’s acid.
One after another clock

Struck midnight; one. Up through
His bare footsoles
Quicksilver shoots overcoming
The trellis of pulse
—Struck two, struck three—
Held him there, dreaming.

Kingdom reborn
In colors seen
By the hashish-eater—
Ice-pink, alizarin,
Pearl; maze shorn
Of depth; geometer

To whom all desires
Down to the last silken
Wisp o’ the will
Are known: what the falcon
Sees when he soars,
What wasp and oriole

Think when they build—
And all this could
Be bargained for! Lord,
Wasn’t it time you stood
On grander ground than cold
Moon-splintered board?

Thus the admired
Artifact, like clock
Or snake, struck till its poison
Was gone. Day broke,
The fever with it. Merde!
Who wanted things? He’d won.

Flushed on the bed’s
White, lay a figure whose
Richness he sensed
Dimly. It reached him as
A cave of crimson threads
Spun by her mother against

That morning in their life
When sons with shears
Should set the pattern free
To ripple air’s long floors
And bear him safe
Over a small waved sea.

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