In silken cells

Fingers run along the bars
Testing, touching
Admiring, stroking

They slide effortlessly along the strands,
Taste the colors and drive their hands
To rewarding destinations.

Along the way they hit a bump
A snarl
A twisted skein;
They twitch,
They wonder
But only for a minute.

They ignore,
And genuflect -
Compose a paean to the wondrous web
A homily, an adulation
As Aelius before proud Roman masses
A year since northern Alban passes
Were shut off from civilized classes
They find that wilfull ignorance surpasses
All that acknowledged fear might bring.

And so they sit and touch and test,
But testing, forget what they were looking for
So when they hit a swelling in the road
They press but lightly on the brake before
Transmission and gas lines explode
In unthinking, adrenal, liquidation.

In the driver's seat all the while
Snooze Hope and Dream and Desire
In one snoring, cherubic, outrageous form
And Grandpa Time wags his bearded smile above its head
Puck's eyes are closed, but his fingers play.

Beside this slumb'ring spirit
Perfused with drops of sweat and tears
The somnambulance of fifty years
And the routine manipulation of gold-plated gears
Forgetful finger on the shifter leers
And points aspersion
Where it should know better.

The bump is past and the road is smoooth
Digits on the driving wheel sooth
Their own immediate concerns.
Silk bends pliant beneath their greedy grasp,
Soft and cool in the central air
And youthful spirit, abandoned, flies
To where Dream has an active share.