Put off your mask of burning gold,
sun of years in your silvering beard.
I come crumb-gathering, will feed
on the remains of love’s last meal.
The moon does not fret her light loss;
I’ll not worry my hands on your face.
Lips meet tongue to speak one word, two,
but never three. You refuse kissing.
And your eyes deny my name in parceled
motions, are slow to reopen, return my stare.
Yet I bend to you, picking over dull edges.
I become the final sparrow of new winter.
This masquerade has faded; I feast on meager
shadows. All you can give, old man, is so little.
With a line from William Butler Yeats
Karla Linn Merrifield has had 900+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies, with 14 books to her credit. Following her 2018 Psyche’s Scroll (Poetry Box Select) is the newly released full-length book Athabaskan Fractal: Poems of the Far North from Cirque Press. She is currently at work on a poetry collection, My Body the Guitar, inspired by famous guitarists and their guitars; the book is slated to be published in December 2021 by Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY).