The old man hardly dents the bed;
chest sinks into a sea-green song's depths.
The candle light flickers, casts shadows
upon the ceiling and wall as if friends
have gathered. The middle of the night
meets the dawn with a fork –
fool's choice offered at the last.
Pinocchio holds the withered hand
that once gently held him; strokes
the knuckles and nails, feels pain as his wood
atomically realigns into flesh - regrets
choices made along the way.
He removes his shoes and socks
so that his feet touch the floorboards beneath,
feels a comfort in the wood, in the memories
contact with the past can bring.
Looks at his joints, elbow and knee,
ankle and wrist; regrets that he is supported
by gravity and nothing else.
'Strings force steps
but at least they offer
an uncomplicated path,' he whispers
as he stares at the chest
of Geppetto - it seeks the distant shore.
'Existence is easy as a tree
or a log to be burnt,'
he whispers at three
in the morning. The old man's chest
creaks like an old galley ship
then moves no more.
Pinocchio knows no prayers to say over the body,
cannot see the spirit leave the flesh, feels
tears slide down cheeks that once sprouted
leaves instead; cries into the dark
'Geppetto is dead!
Now I understand what it is to be alive,
Geppetto is dead!’
The boy who was a tree
feels his toes wriggle, understands their desire
to break past the floorboards and enter the earth –
their need to seek sustenance
in a connection to everything abandoned.