A coach and four with royal crest stood in the fog
that hid the veiled woman who slipped in to rouse our
friend, the alchemist, from sleep. Laying a fresh log
upon the fire, he frowned. What brings you at this hour,
Madame? She raised her veil. He bowed. I beg your par—
No, no, it’s I who must apologize. The tzar
is in St. Petersburg, and I have come to learn
if anything might save my family from the burn
of rage that spreads across our land. I’ve brought you this.
She set a jewel-encrusted egg between them. You’ve
said, or so I hear, there is no time but now. If
this is true and your 3-headed coin can’t miss,
then show me, please, how presence might bring ease
to those who bleed so deeply they have lost hope of repose.
An icy chill fell o’er the alchemist who placed
the Coin of Time beside the useless jeweled thing,
and to his shock the spin began as if in haste
to show events in all their dreaded offerings.
Momentum once begun, he knew, was hard to slow,
but love that sees what will be then, can also grow,
break free through tainted legacies to sow new ground.
The triad spinning wind sucked heat from them; the sound
of bullets tearing flesh, and screaming, filled the room;
then slowly…from the vortex of the coin there came
three faces, one by one by one. Tell me your names,
the woman said, though deathly pale. Hands pressed to womb,
she bent her ear close to the coin that now lay calm,
exuding something aromatic like a balm.
The alchemist, I’m told, was never seen again,
except in pawn shops now and then with strange green stones
he claimed were from a tablet. All the moneys lent
were marked to follow him, in hopes of showing what
a state can do to those who wear too high a hat.
Years later in a valley named for silicon,
one woman and two men work steady, dusk to dawn,
developing a game they call New Dynasties.
It features Russian royalty who find a way
to sidestep time and history. The joy of play
on tablets everywhere has sparked economies
to rise, and no one thinks of Hermes’s spleen, although
there is a coin that spins above, between, below.
~~~ © Elaine Stirling, 2014
Image of Ipatiev House, 1928, now demolished, In Yekaterinburg, Russia