Scythe and a sandglass

scythe and a sandglass
by jim benz
Serafino has one handkerchief
which he keeps in an oak box
wrapped in linen beneath his bed.
It is as clean as the tears of a saint
and twice as holy. Prior to its interment
beneath the bed, his wife Malvolia
wanted to burn it, to cleanse it of spells
and demons. She didn’t know
what she was saying, so he put her
in a Russian tea room and kept her there,
wrapped in silk, jewels, and etiquette.
He pretended to sympathize.
Each day, when Svetlana served her,
Malvolia cried and cried and cried,
but the tears from her good eye
were mud-stained and smelled like fish.
Her bad eye was worse: a bug eye
that always stared and never blinked.
Once it had a foreign name: Eleanor
of Arreton Manor, Isle of Wight.
In those days, before the misfortune,
it was a queenly eye, with long lashes
and allure. Now it was diseased, a yellow,
coveting eye: Maloccio.
Every day, except on weekends,
Svetlana peers into this eye and frowns.
Once, on the occasion of his rare visit
to the tea room, she asked Serafino how
things had come to be as they were. He replied
with horror, “Occhi e contro e perticelli agli
occhi, crepa la invida e schiattono gli occhi.”
She had no idea what he was saying,
but found his voice to be intoxicating
and beautiful. Hearing her say this aloud,
Malvolia began to smile. In an eyelid’s beat,
she wore a mask that was almost lifelike.

0 thoughts on “Scythe and a sandglass

  1. This one requires research. Then, it shines even more. The last stanza took me forever to figure out (I think I figured it out)and wow. Nice work man.

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