The weathered ancient man,
face lit by pipe’s glow,
arrests my faltering step
as autumn crisp invades my lungs.
Plump and round, slouched low,
his piercing scrutiny shivers my skin,
casts intoxicating shadow
within shadow.
He beckons me
to settle at his feet
and hear gin-induced tales
of willowy women
in sleek evening gowns
waltzing in and out
of his heart,
loves charmed and cast aside
in the wake of war –
companions that disappear
in glare of daylight,
little dots of glow-in-the-dark paint.
Grin and wink
betray the illusion.
I turn away, rushing home
to cloister myself
from the questions, answers.

©2019 Kenneth W. Arthur