Cheateau Wichman by Ben Pease Back Forward


Stuck in a game
                      of hot potato
between rapture and dismay
The Wichman found
both hands
heard a knocking
  definitely at his door
     felt his heart at once
      and shrinking
as when one squeezes
      a water balloon
too hard off-center
             was The Wichman's
great desire
           realizing itself
or was this all a cruel
    dream or joke
put on by these
       sage editors
    who only bothered him
with scraps of potential
kept mentioning how he
        possessed THE MANIFOLD
which didn't interest The Wichman
           in the slightest
though it assured him
       the sage editors understood
The Wichman himself
                           was an inadequate
                      mythological figure

most recently The Wichman
           found a slip of paper magneted
to the fridge which he read aloud

memorize this

here men from the planet earth
first set foot upon the moon
we came in peace for all mankind
Neil A. Artmstrong
Michael Collins
Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.
Richard Nixon
United States of America

but The Wichman wasn't thinking
    too hard about all this
       he happened to be
staring    at the front door
             he always failed
             to lock
its hinges the same
        as any other
today they glided open
     as if strung with pearls

a most high
       a most radiant
light          bore through it
   like a hole carved
               into the heart
of a mountain
       to illuminate
the dwarven king's grace

even though the hallway    
        was windowless
and without any kind
         of light rigging
The Wichman
                   would claim
til the day he died
      he could only
make out
           a silhouette
    of a woman

she irritated him
she repulsed him
she made rise
               the crest
of his right eyebrow

a woman
            a woman
  with a potato-juice
tan dressed in a (unforunately
for The Wichman's aversion
   to red) rosebud
        negligee with
   a gumball-machine
       gold necklace
  reading DAPHNE
     in foxtail cursive

The Wichman had seen this name
              freshly affixed
in red embossing tape
            on the buzzer downstairs

Daphne caressed her arms
        as if she were rolling up her sleeves
and said "why don't you come over
                          for a smoke"
The Wichman would never
                 decline an invitation
but stipulated "I will only
           go as far as the threshing floor"
he received a metal cigarette
       in his palm and thought "who
can behold these two hands
    of mine
               who can steady
this [manifold] mind?"