Long ago on the edge of Vienna and lost,
I walk off the map into an alley of street vendors
squatting on tablecloths beside strange treasure:

ebony snakes carved as bracelets, silver coins strung
as necklaces, lace scarves, intricately
painted eggs, tiny porcelain elephants.

I want
everything. I can’t

Someone whistles sharply:
a six-note riff I recognize
from Charlie Parker’s saxophone.

Vendors roll tablecloths into sacks and run.
All at once the alley is empty.
Nothing left but old bricks and graffiti.

As two policemen walk the beat,
I stand in the middle
of this magic trick.

Published in Crannóg