Lord, set me a table in Byzantium:
not the rose-colored queen of the Bosphorus,
not the city of jewelled liturgies,
but the drain where the scourings of empire collect.
Give me a rough wooden bench
and a goblet of thick southern wine
that smacks of honey and dust
in a tavern on some twisted lane away from the sea,
where a plump dancing girl of uncertain antecedents
clicks the reptilian scales of her castanets,
her gaze weighing my limbs like dubious florins,
while a one-eyed Cappadocian in the corner
thoughtfully fingers his knife.
Lord, I don't ask for much,
only a fate I can handle.
Jon Corelis [log in to unmask]
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