Charles Watts

The Current Below

In the middle of the journey of our life
I came to myself within a dark wood
where the straight way was lost.

— Dante Alighieri

Two days from now
Tomorrow will be yesterday
This dream of rowing across
Darkened water with silver fish
Reflecting scimitars of moon
Under the ripples of an oar
Will reach another shore
Beyond my sight

Mostly my words reside
In shadow, slide under
The current below, a tangle
Of hair twined in seaweed
Unforgiven and serene
Broken by the changing
Of tides, of time, of a dying
Into rebirths unknown

Shall I be the last dog
Of my beloved, tranquil
In her lap or near her
On a carpet of Grecian wool
A farmgirl raising beets
A hermit crab
A homeless drunk
On the streets of Lahore

A circle in the sand
An echo in a cave

Charles Watts, early in his career, had scriptwriting contracts for several TV series. He fled Hollywood, got an MFA in poetry, and went to Iran to teach literature. For five years, he edited Seizure, a magazine of poetry and fiction. He has also been a cab driver, social worker, refugee worker, and owner of a tour company. His books include Cure Cottage (five one-act plays), Raptures (short stories), Waking Up in a Beautiful Room (poems), and “The Road to Swat” (a chapbook of travel tales). He currently splits his time between Charleston, SC and Lake Placid, NY.