The Madmen Among Us

by Victor David Sandiego

The morning is fragrant and urgent; you leap from the blankets, rattle bed posts, boil water, sip tea, walk the terraced gardens, and admire how the years and seeds have grown into your own private labyrinth.

You speak with the woman you love in a warm stream of words and stroke her cheek with your fingers, but she is not visible to us. The bench you share with her sinks slightly into the Earth at your end, and the Camilla tree has dropped a petal that sits between you and the other armrest.

You have not lost your way. It is we who cannot see into the distance, south across many rivers and borders to the lake where a thousand generations have bled into the birth sheet.

No one person seems to know how you escaped from the city. Some say you were helped by Muwadi who dragged you from the crater and stood you upright among the rubble. Others claim to have seen you pierced by lightning and drawn up into a cloud.

Sometimes truth is the exaggeration minus the lie. For the legend, the tales we tell our children before bed, we allow that you are the only offspring of God and disregard the impossible purity contained in such an account.

However, when the fire is coals and our descendants simmer in sleep, we place candor on our tongues and admit that you are more than that. You are the heart, the lungs, and the bladder of a strong-beating people and no single angel can contain you.

This piece first appeared in Cerise Press, Summer 2013.

Tags: Poetry Prose