“Barefoot,” “Reconstructions,” and “Vulcan’s Flames”

“Barefoot,” “Reconstructions,” and “Vulcan’s Flames”

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He says his favorite clouds

all wear size seven shoes.

He knows she believes

she once saw a paisley rainbow

and will never forget it.

She wears size seven shoes

and her tears can be torrential,

yet they can still nurture

the first flowers of spring.

He imagines her a butterfly

sitting on the back of his hand,

gossamer wings poised

at the thin edge of stillness.

He will not tell her this, afraid

she would think him a fool

or worse, flit wings and fly

in search of a rainbow,

just not a paisley one.

They both know that one

always hides within the clouds

that halo the mountain

whose streams feed her tears.

Those are the clouds,

he knows, that always, always

run barefoot across the sky.


Night descended on her

like an elevator untethered,

her memories in freefall into darkness.

She could not forget the stories

the elder ones quietly told,

the numbers always clothed over,

their smiles forced or freely given,

depending on the direction

of the ever-present winds of emotion.

She knew she was a prisoner of her past,

her inheritance both joys and horrors

interwoven into the fabric of her psyche.

She wanted to face life with

a rough grace, but how often had she

been torn by anger, frustration, desolation,

the feeling she was captain and crew

of a ship with no sextant and only

moonless, starless sky to guide her.

But from broken moments she pulled

shards, assembled them, bound them

in gold and carefully built the life

her ancestors had wanted for her,

a testament to possibility, to compassion,

a fusion of heaven and hell into an Eden

where their Cerberus could be

cast out forever from her garden.

Vulcan's Flames

The ark of hope had sailed

almost empty, their reality

was free falling, their dreams

consumed in the furnace

of their greed, their arrogance.

Time was hanging suspended,

they were grasping at the hands

of the clock perched now in

over the growing abyss.

Once they had been gods, or

imagined themselves so, now

they were fuel for Vulcan's flames.

Once they were prophets

of an unbounded, unbridled future,

now simply comic pariahs, clinging

to a world that had rejected them.

Some still held out  hope, some

still tried, and in the faint glimmer

of their efforts a small ember

of salvation barely glowed.

They wanted to believe there was

a future, that this was one tale

in an ongoing saga, not

the posthumous mutterings

of a now doomed species dancing

on the razor's edge of extinction.

About the Author

Louis Faber

Louis Faber’s work has appeared widely in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including in Arena Magazine (Australia), Glimpse, South Carolina Review, Rattle, Pearl, Dreich (Scotland), Alchemy Stone (U.K.), and Flora Fiction, Defenestration, Constellations, Jimson Weed and Atlanta Review. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Read more work by Louis Faber.