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Sunday, October 05, 2014


by Anton Yakovlev

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

She looked like Robin Wright in The Princess Bride.
She was your nurse, but you called her “my muse”
ever since your first check-up.

Your colonel threatened to lead you into harm’s way,
assuming you imagined her in wet dreams,
failing to grasp the meaning of the word “muse.”

This game of alphas was all well and good
until, just halfway into your deployment,
he did let your vehicle get blown up.

You awoke, and many thought you might still return
to active duty, until a routine injection
prompted you to knock your nurse muse unconscious.

For months you shied away from traffic lights.
Thankfully, your aim had gotten so bad
you missed your own temple at point blank range.

Today you spend most evenings in Middle Earth,
imagining you’re at a campfire with hobbit brothers.
The night falls.

For two months of the year
you’re the star of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire,
jousting and wooing.

You’ve acquired a handful of Twitter followers.
You balladeer tasteful maxims
about the well-tuned diplomacy of pole dancers.

Your voicemail greeting is a legend.
The chickens in your front yard drive
every local farmer to jealous rage.

When children come trick-or-treating,
you throw a Dracula cape over your chain mail
and shower them with Belgium’s finest chocolate.

But their parents impose strict curfews.
And even the hobbits have their bedtime restrictions;
Thorin the dwarf has to take care of his beard.

You slip back into that night in the hospital.
Your muse in scrubs lies on the floor next to your bed.
If only you could help her up.

An anchor stares at you from the TV screen.
A blast down the street
sends tremors through the hospital windows

and all those people running into your room.

Anton Yakovlev grew up in Moscow, Russia, but moved to the United States in 1996. He studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. Anton lives in Ridgewood, NJ and works as a college textbook editor. His poetry has appeared in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, CityLitRag, The Poet in New York and Instigatorzine, and is forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Raintown Review, and 823 on High. He has also directed several short films.