Ken L. Walker
Ceremonies of the Rival Lamp

Ceremonies of the Rival Lamp                       



[[ 1 ]] 


They come to the coast where the road crooks out— 

de Compostela to Porto de Bares—carrying solely rat tails, 

keeping each rear appendage as a respective pet,  

shoving each inside tender, bruised 


kneecaps, norvegicus, navigate, crepuscule,  

dangling each as a claim they could  


                           tie them 


                           to make  


a series of selves as necklaces. 


They asked,  


                        what is light but a mirror? 


They requested as much natural light as possible 

so that the tails could grow legs 

and their deceased pets could live on. They came 

to the coast to carry their pets into new light. 


They asked,  


                       what is a mirror but a version of light? 


Venison of itself, animal as strict animal. 


One man dried the pellet like pieces of one of his pet rat’s 

diminished brain after it had escaped its aquarium. 


We did not know these people for we 

kept to ourselves, especially during the many days of rain. 


We asked them, What is light  

but another person 

expecting nothing of you good and decent. 



[[ 2 ]] 


They said they were from a coastal area in the south— 

somewhere near Gibraltar, stating  

they were different from those in charge. 


They said the roads were surrounded on both sides 

by tans, ambers, burnt types of shades, colors,  

sunburst squashes, melon threadbare rinds, 

most vivid on overcast passages.  


A veiled woman whispered,  


             These rats 

             were once white.  


Later, said,  


These tails were once 

             attempts at diversion,  

             unyielding abandonment 

             chastising fear.  


So they left the tails wherever they went 

even at restaurants as gratuity.  


We could tell 

if they liked someone because they would leave 

a charred appendage in the other’s hands.  


Burnt meant we could stand each other. 

Ruby Robinson

Ruby Robinson

Ruby Robinson