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Old woman watches me

Eyes worn water weak

As through the centuries

I sink,

Her ancient hands

Oak-knotted and calloused

Fingers twisted, long, brown-twigged

Caress the doll to life

As if its heart can ease the ills

Its incantations smooth destinies,

But it too

Face burned by the merciless Sun

Stares empty into her eyes

Hollow forgotten pools

Still, stagnating circles

Weed-choked black

Hung over by the willows

Whose tears still come

Fall like acid drops

And ripple with momentary hope

Gone, greedily swallowed and lost,

Whispered words on dry clay ears

Tumble like landslide pebbles

Ancient tongues

Syllables soft and strong

Naked in the passage of time

Dissolve like salt

Lose themselves across the years,

And as with mortal frailty

And impotence I pass

Her grieving head she turns away

Horizons heavy haze-lit

Hidden hopeless hope

And from earth-cracked lips

The charm-words come once more.