The True Story of Kaldi

An old man in any time, his hands were like gods

His feet coming, like songs of mercy

His eyes, sour from sun, no better than dogs’

 

He was, like all saviors, a king and the least among them

 

Into his ears they poured their longing

for true shapes in the world

and he listened, like water listens

 

He blessed the hunt but burdened the hunters

He was, as his name insists, ever-present  and

a thing left behind

 

The women called him The Old Goat

 

 

On that day, he drifted away from the morning fire

one arm outstretched like the night watch

pointing at devils in the high grass and mist

 

They were in fresh lands unknown

They were fleeing the dry death of drought

They spoke of abandoning spirits

They pretended not to notice he was gone

 

 

His voice returned before him with the rising stars

screeching like a bandit bird

then singing like a new mother

 

The men stood in a fierce line against the approach

 

He grew out of the dim light, first running, then spinning

then raising his knees  and pointing his toes

as in the praying for rain

 

He spilled small red fruit from his bag

his mouth was full and dripping as he laughed

his face was as wide and white as the moon

 

Frightened, the children soothed one another with whispers:

it is only the prophet gone mad

it is only an old dancing goat

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