Koshchei the Deathless
One must always be wary of surfaces.
Koshchei the deathless, for instance,
kept his soul inside an egg inside a duck.
Normal enough, you might say,
but here was his genius:
He kept the duck inside a hare.
The rest follows logically,
that he would keep the hare locked
in an iron chest beneath a green oak tree
on the island of Bujan where the sea
stretches out in all directions.
It is imperative to choose one’s myths wisely.
The Aztecs lost everything because they sent
Quetzalcoatl, light-skinned and bearded,
across the sea on a raft made of snakes.
More practical, the Hindus gave Krishna
blue-skin, so at least when Franciso-de-Almedia
captured Goa, they knew the color of his blood.
So, wagering much, I will learn from Koshchei.
Behind me, the highway rumbles like the sea.
Earlier, a girl’s shadow, shackled to the pavement,
came darting toward my oak bench
just as the sun hung balanced between two road signs.
A boy walks by in athletic pants,
a moment before, a girl with pink hair sped by on a bicycle.
I am lonely, and you have not appeared but
I must learn, when hunting souls, to be patient.
Josh Kellar teaches at Boston University where he is
also a candidate in the Master of Fine Arts program. In 1999-2000, he was a Lannan Fellow at Georgetown University.
Potentially, might be ...