A Small Kingdom

Devin Johnston

Come on, let’s start, there’s work to be done,
constructing battlements from wooden blocks
and a castle keep from cardboard.
I play my part, a supporting role
building road across the carpet,
its wool obscured by a cloud of dust,
elephants on the march,
their buttery plastic almost edible.
These are the Alps, and this the col,
a fold in the quilt from which a wolf
howls and hurls its paper rocks
down on dinosaurs and mammals,
a phalanx of anachronisms
borne of circumstance and whim.

I play my part with half a mind,
ironies and violence held at bay,
until the phone rings: an old friend
whose wife has finally tossed him out
needs help moving, boxes by the curb.
I’ve been there, and recommend
a furnished room a few blocks distant.

Come back, let’s play! This is a harbour town,
and on its wharf, a whittled ship
outward bound with a load of apples.
I once lived here, but now I wait
for a chance to slip away.