Agents of the Prince
by Michael Malan
On the playground, men in dark coats hurried past
the swings and monkey bars. This gift, they said,
is a box you may never open, but keep it with you
always. In the morning, snow gripped the shadows
of trees. Things that once seemed familiar were now
abstract or altered beyond recognition: the house
where I grew up, maps of torn buildings, tattered
streets. I stood at the window and breathed deeply.
A flock of sparrows flew past into the light, ethereal
mist that sat on the house like a cupcake. Windows
were erased and doors reprogrammed. We entered
through a mirror, caught our breath, let it go again.
At noon, agents of the prince appeared, asked where
they could find the brujo. His name was an alphabet
of blighted orchards, a fever of diseased air.
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