The Messenger

by Anne Pierson Wiese

In the painting I have imagined, a figure
dressed in dusky layers of traveling clothes
bends over a rough wooden table,
not even having taken time to remove
his hat, which melts into the shadows, his long black
hair falling forward, as the indistinct faces
of the other men around the table seem to fall
forward, everyone focused on the object
placed next to the dimly burning candle: a piece
of parchment still furled at either end, its message
barely illuminated, illegible
to the viewer, its import measured solely
by the urgent attitudes of the men and the darkness
the darkness excluding everything but this moment of change.

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