74: Dome of the Hidden Temple by James Tate


People were going about their chores. Some were eating
lunch. Others, like me, were just standing around doing nothing,
just taking in the scene. I saw a dozen ducks fly over low
on their way to the pond. A policeman walked by swinging his
club. The firemen were washing their fire truck. Margie walked
out of a shoe store and saw me. She walked up to me and said,
“Have you heard the news? Rosie and Larry broke up.” “Why?
They were the best darn couple I knew,” I said. “I agree.
They had everything going for them,” she said. “Did you talk
to her?” I said. “She said he thinks he’s an armadillo. He
eats insects and mud and dug a burrow in the back of the house,”
she said. “He didn’t look like an armadillo. I thought he was
a very good-looking guy, always very nice to me,” I said. “Whatever
the case, I’ll miss their parties. They were always such fun,”
she said. “They were the best,” I said. “I’ve got to run, nice
to see you, Tim,” she said. I walked over to the drugstore and
bought myself some toothpaste. When I came out, a light spring
rain had started. The pigeons on the bank took off and flew in
circles around the town. A man walked up to me and said, “Do
you know where the Dome of the Hidden Temple is?” I said, “Yes,
but I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.” “But I’m supposed to meet
somebody there,” he said. “Then that person should have told
you how to get there,” I said. “I guess he thought I knew,” he
said. “Almost nobody knows,” I said. “Then why do you know?”
he said. “Because I am the Priest of Nothingness,” I said.
“Are you really?” he said. “No, I just made that up,” I said.
“Oh, so you’re a comedian,” he said. “Yes, I’m a comedian,” I
said. “Well, you’re not very good,” he said. “I know,” I said.

 

The author’s work can be found in the volume, The Eternal Ones of the Dream: Selected Poems 1990-2010.

Think about how the poem made you feel. Did you enjoy the slight mythical world the author created on top of otherwise normalcy? Do you ever wish the world had more silly within it?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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