Nisi Dominus Frusta

In the evening…

a descending sun slanted through the Aspen,

to light them in shades of yellow, orange, and lime.

The trees shimmered in the night breeze

and all was quaking color and shadow.

Stone walls of silvered shale rose

above the Yuba river;

while under the trees,

every movement was repeated;

like floating in seas

of flickering butterflies, tethered together,

in the wafting wind.

She had skin, the color of caramel, and hair slightly darker, soft and flowing onto her neck in silken curls; with eyes like pale emeralds. Her companion was a severely impaired boy of another race, who rocked in the back seat to and fro, like a metronome, but with no sound. He just kept staring straight ahead with his look of concentration or concern, seemingly oblivious to the beautiful young woman beside him…who whispered in his ear so quietly, that only he could hear the soft murmuration. She slowly stroked his hand to calm the tempo of his fore and afting; while her eyes never left the side of his face…drawing the boy into her sphere of protection and keeping him connected.



The old man’s head was bandaged, one eye wrapped in white gauze, and one arm in a cast. I was letting him out in front of a hotel on Sixth Street…the most unloving block in this city of the summer of love. He paid the fare; then begged me to walk him to his room, although he wouldn’t say why, or couldn’t. I tried to refuse, having another call waiting, but he pulled on my arm and pushed a folded bill into my hand. I put the dollar in my pocket and resolved to walk him to his room as quickly as possible. The “lobby” was a narrow hall with one shatter-proof and barred window that looked out from a locked, uninhabited room. The stairway smelled of urine, stale sweat, and something sinister. As we climbed in silence to the fourth floor, each ascending flight made my passenger’s breathing more rapid and shallow. The air grew thick and heavy as if we were ascending beyond an easy altitude where even sound was snuffed. All the light bulbs had been broken out and only the emergency exit signs illuminated the enveloping gloom of the halls. The floors were stained in blackened patches as if poured from the depth of the darkest corners. I peered hard into the pitch that followed us, feeling my shoulders tighten while we climbed ourselves farther from the light of day.

Finally reaching his door, at the end of a hall, he unlocked the four deadbolts that barred his room from the devils that clamored to slip inside. He thanked me profusely and closed himself in, clicking the four bolts and sealing me out in the hallway alone. I turned and descended the same stairs, building a momentum that would carry me through an assault, like a linebacker crashing through his opponents to the goal beyond. I burst outside to the unfresh air, and entered the cab, locking myself inside. I fished the folded bill out of my pocket to find it was not a dollar at all…but a hundred.


~ by theoxherd on July 18, 2012.

One Response to “Nisi Dominus Frusta”

  1. Are you there now?

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