When I was nine, sick on Santa’s eve,
My mother & father & sister & brother
Came to my room to cheer me & sing carols.
They gave me a plastic molded knight
Mounted on a white horse & armed
With a lance & sword & shield. Two inches high.
I carried him with me out of childhood.
He lost his sword in a fall this morning,
Weaponless he nonetheless stands guard again.
His helmet gone, his lance lost, his sheathed knife
long disappeared and his scabbard empty for years now, he
sits on his white horse - two of his legs gnawed off by
my dog, teeth marks sunk deep into his armour. His Grail
Quest still unfinished, he is propped up in the forest of
a house plant, encircled by a branch like a serpent grasping
its tail in its mouth. He stands, hobbled before a leaf bridge
within that mythic ring, like Lancelot drained of life by
his desire for Guinevere. Light, shafts through the curtains
in the study window & falls like a road on the far end of his bridge.
When next I notice him, one of my cats
has dug him out of the plant & he lies on his side, his horse
on top of him, his head turned to the garden out the window.
Like Merlin I assure my plastic Christmas knight that he can’t
just lie there and wait for the cats to pee on him, To prove
to him that he's not doomed to that fate, I move him to a sill
where a line of shells & stones & other shoreline debrislie beneath a goblet of towering blue glass.