The Celestial Hovel (7) The Ends

“I fell in,” Waistcoat sighs up
the old straight track, colours
of his soaked cosmogonic
waistcoat bleed into each other,

he sees the Pedlar at work
on a cartwheel, “Life spokes
got pushed out on way here.
I beg your help with repair.”

They reattach spokes, ‘Work’ and ‘Play’
attach wheel to cart axle.
Exhausted, sit on logs, Pedlar
says “Your wife gave me this gift.”

He shows the brightness in his palm.
“May I try on your fine waistcoat.”
They swap coats. “On the inside
of my long coat is a gift for you.”

This story changes over time. Here
is an older and a newer version
of how it ends.

OLD VERSION

Waistcoat pulls out the old trope,
Swings the repaired axe with nine
planets of his hands across the arc
of the sun cuts Pedlar’s head off.

Throws the axe through the mended
window. Takes up her iron and strikes
her with it, leaves a black hole
in her head that expands, realigns

the stars and planets, makes
the flowers wilt, spreads dust
over all the surfaces. Watches
the hovel burn as he takes the cart

down the old straight track.
Horse reins in one hand, his wife’s
bright aspect in the other,
and the Pedlar’s gift of ‘Betrayal’.

His wife’s black hole grows, engulfs
the fire, the stables, the logs, all fall
into its tophat. Waistcoat hurries
horse and cart ahead of the hatrim.

NEWER VERSION

Waistcoat pulls out the old trope,
laughs, hugs Pedlar who says
“You laugh even when things get dark.”
“I’d be a useless pool of tears

if I weren’t, ” answers Waistcoat.
They swap coats again. “You may
need this.” Pedlar gives him another
trope: “People can change.”

Waistcoat opens the hovel’s door.
The wife is ironing dimensions,
has difficulty removing folds.
“Yes, I slept with the young lad.

I was wrong. I know what we
have and can’t forgive myself, ”
she says through incandescent steam
that shivers the star pollened air.

“We both grieve,” says Waistcoat.
“The trope of ‘Time is a healer’ helps.
All words are empty gestures,
facile, cliché, not like first love

when sentiment gains meaning.
Let me iron.” She laughs.
“You never do it properly.’
Grabs his hand briefly,

a sunblaze passes through to him.
“I’m sorry. Your creases
need to be sharper, ” she says. He shows
her the Pedlar’s old trope : ‘Forgiveness’.

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