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The Story People

poem

· poetry

The story people had wide eyes, like inflated balloons and cigarette butts; they were strange folk, who whispered tales of storm-blown eastern mountains and boats lost at sea and gypsy-drunks dancing in the sand behind Covers Marble.

 

The story people didn’t wear shoes, their rough rugged feet gave them a strong appearance, as if they could weather any storm. The story people sat by fires late into the night, flames flickering across their eyes they would dance circles howling at the moon, brushing tree tops and liqueur-bottle lanterns strung like stars.

 

The story people were travelers, bustling vagabond musicians and poets, with wandering homes that grew legs and walked across the country, settling where they pleased.

 

I sat with one, one night, his name I can’t recall but his eyes were young like orange blossoms, or tea-candle flames; his hands held maps of all the streets he had walked, of all the smiles he bottled and saved, of all the roads that became his home.

 

When his legs grew weary and his wandering tired, we talked in the firelight, his face outlined by bright light and deep shadow — a daring contrast by the words he spoke. He told me of the other story people, and the stories from which they were born; his voice rumbled low over the crackling fire, he told me of an orchard in the hills, tucked back behind the ceder forest.

 

He talked of trees hanging low with fruit, of the babbling creek by the homestead; he told me of the lost boy, who once found the deep mountain pond by the wildflowers, purple and blue. He rumbled on into the night with tales of far fetch places, a land of imagination come to life inside his mind; he littered my brain with magic.

 

He told me of the young storytellers, born under moonlight and honeysuckle vines and flute pipes with missing notes; he spoke with words that reached into the air, gathered the molecules, and birthed new life before my eyes.

 

Of what mystic land did these dwellers arise, from where did their feet and hands form such elaborate creations from dust and dirt; if I were born of the story people, I would form the trees from clay, fall upon their leaves like rain, and plant myself deep in the soil. But the story people weren’t folk made with roots or stay.

 

The story people were wandering warriors, roamers with bruised knees and open hearts, vibrant poets, musicians with minds of marvel; I knew not where they came from, the night they found me, I only knew the story people lit a fire within me, then sat back to watch me burn.

 

By Riah Raine

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