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Wednesday, October 07, 2009


by Judith Terzi

The last barbarian took his seat.
The cymbals clashed,
and the first man spoke.
The barbarian held up a hand-written sign.
The first man glanced his way,
surprised that he was wearing
a gray Oxxford suit and well-tended loafers,
not the season's deerskins,
and sandals strapped around his calves.
The last barbarian stood up;
he began to weep.
Tears streamed down his striped tie
onto the chamber tile.
No one knew why he wept,
but soon, other barbarians were weeping, too.
A blue lake pooled from their tears.
The weeping men, over their heads in the sudden lake,
dog paddled, gasped their last barbarian breath.
Miraculously, not one drop of this flood
flowed upstream where legislators sat.
Ties, shoes, shirts, toupés drifted
back and forth like toy sailboats.
Then, every relic vanished.
All was still except for the voice of the first man
and the swish of a water lily springing up
every now and then.

Judith Terzi's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Aries, Alehouse Press (2009 Happy Hour Awards Runner Up), Borderlands, The New Verse News, The Pedestal Magazine, Quarrtsiluni, Raving Dove, Red Rock Review, the Her Mark 2010 Calendar and elsewhere. She lives in Southern California where she taught writing at California State University, Los Angeles and high school French for many years.