Of Property & Precipitation

Steve Barbaro

Long Long Ago


                   The speckled thing-ness of the snow—
          a thing-ness, self-speckled from its own thing-ness—
             piles slickly, piles slickly, but now, though,

          now though, now, wow, this, this, or-na-ment,
            say it, yet both after & before it happens
       there comes the pooling of much thought that

         wonders what it is, really, that substance,
           but then also thinks what else is there now
        but it? I mean, this kind of embellishment

         setting itself up as if to be the for-all, end-all,
     ever-to-cover-whatever surface, but then to drape
       everything, in the end, failingly, meltingly—


            A window abetting a skull-topped table was
        closed, see, but when what-was-snow was found
             caking the skull, The Prince, its possessor,

            wondered aloud whether the precipitation
        wasn’t drifting in through the high ceilings, or
     whether the water wasn’t a kind of posthumous

      perspiration, or even whether the skull hadn’t
          been carried out into the snowy town, fit
       fodder as any skull ever is for morbid

           jokes, what with many of the townsfolk
     being the very kinds of fatalistic idlers so
           prone to fits of macabre comedy…


         Full disclosure, though, full disclosure: I saw
the skull amidst the streets, yes, I saw the skull
    amidst the town streets, & this witnessing

   feels as if it’s still happening, so that I can speak
now of how the hands transporting the skull
  masked the skull’s actual features, leaving

       me to follow the skull’s descendants, my
  friends, to their home where they placed
     the skull upon the skull’s very own former

       writing table, & wherefrom the skull
    served as a kind of charm-slash-ear for its
  descendants’ oracular, well, mutterings—


      Ah, & the weird portability of these
 things—the skull, the snow, & even my very
   memory of the mutterings—pool to promote

      an air of the morbidly comely, yet The Prince
 settled his mind on the possibility that the skull exited
       his domain, yes, The Prince knew, which was

    problematic, considering how The Prince’s
       fear of intruders had never before been
 piqued, so The Prince hired one special Keeper Of

The Skull, indeed, he hired a Keeper who amidst
    the snow was to keep said skull as would-be
         unsullied as The Prince’s memory…


       But said Keeper of the Skull was, well,
  ahem, me—see, The Prince was a sheltered
      being, yes, The Prince lived a rather

    hermetic life, so he knew not that his oh
so cherished skull’s descendants were my old
   pals, no, or that despite his wont to hoard

  the face-bones of he whom The Prince’s own
ancestors murdered, I often stole the skull
   so as to stage long fits of communal ul-

     ulation, & in the very space wherein
the once-thinking skull mocked The Prince’s
  “royalty”, & his family’s lack of charity—


    Sorta sad it was though how The Prince
himself doted on the skull, for he cut a pretty
  lonely figure, that fella, & oft-times he’d even

     ask me to “remove myself” so he could
be alone with the bone, as it were, until I’d un-
  failingly hear, through walls, the broomiest

    moans culminating in a speckled thing-ness
not unlike the one characterizing the snow
    I’m now never not watching, until that very

    ululating spread about the premises’ entirety
something like a parchment dissipating all
    the more the more it’s writing-topped… 


        & though now all I can much ogle is
    snow, that skull was once a kind of proxy
     soul, so that when my pals & I all alike

     scrunched our voices to call forth those
spirits that that room after somehow kept itself
    full of, we stuffed the memory of that o-

  ccurrence into our bulks in the very time
    said occurrence was occurring, so that
 now I can only strugglingly re-conjure

    the ambience, & the zigzaggingly faint
      plenitude that room assumed as soon as
  the dead, not un-forthcomingly, flurried—


      & while those spirits danced, our own
   spirits went into a kind of hoard-mode, jamming
loopiness into loopiness & all within seeming

   stillness, as if those moment’s indescribable
     density might be preserved in the way
the soul-trapping body was preserved by mum-

      mification, & just so that we could stock-
 pile a little sustenance, a little consolatory
      fuel from long-dead loved ones who’d lost

  life for the very act of simply telling the power
      hungry that they were in fact power
    hungry, & making that truth palpable…  


      Yet when we were caught we were caught
  mid-conjuring—see, The Prince’s cronies
     stormed in like Ubiquity’s Lackeys, splashing

     spiky liquids in our sight’s sources & then
snagging the room-centering skull while ground-
    wardly we writhed, until my friends & I all

       alike awoke to see the walls a foreign
     room assumed, & the teeny windows by
   which that room barely frees itself, & from

 which space we went court-ward for The
    Judge, The Prince’s sibling, who plopped
 us in separate (super-tinily-windowed) cells—


       & now I sit on bare floor, yup, I sit &
      study the snow’s thing-ness & wonder
    whither that skull looms—I mean, maybe

    it’s in one spot like those friends I’ll never
 again glimpse, or maybe it’s all busted, broken
    up for telling what it only really told in-

  directly, & now it’s somehow propelling
    itself through its very own thing-ness—
 a speckled thing-ness not unlike the snow’s—

   & whose truth blankets, if un-visually,
  yet at every moment, every inch of this
    most angular & well-windowed town…