Tayatra Reads a Poem

“Tayatra has seen you write, Master Edmund,” Tayatra said one evening, her thin fingers gently closing The Gentleman’s Chemestrie, by Loden Heimsbill, “And you have said you are a poet, but Tayatra has never seen what you write. Perhaps you would like Tayatra to read your poems to you?”

Edmund cringed, reflexively. He still hated the idea of anyone reading his poems–it was a private thing. Tayatra had read On the Male Mysterique, by Floyd Zemant, to Edmund, and the idea that he was hiding deep and frightening things from himself was worrisome. Doubly so, if there was any truth to the theory that these secrets could be revealed through his dreams or poems by a clever and mentally flexible reader.

On the other hand, Tayatra was just a statue–hardly capable of interpreting his poems. And, if he was being honest to himself, he had to admit that the stories and tales he didn’t like were somehow much more interesting when Tayatra read them to him in her soft wispy voice…

And so he stood up from his thick chair and picked up his notebook from the desk where he left it. He flipped through the pages, trying to decide which poem he wanted her to read first. He settled on page ten, his first Clock poem, which he wrote to describe the small iron black hands, and their circumvention of its porcelain-white face.

Stepping into the alcove, he lay the book in front of her like an offering on an altar. The marble statue watched him as he stepped back, the small green disk glinting in the flickering light. Tayatra’s strings tightened and loosened, carefully placing her fingers in the best position to turn the pages of his notebook. He returned to his seat, sitting upright and watching as her head dipped towards the desk, pointing her forehead squarely at the pages.

For a moment, a delicate silence filled the library, like the tension that hangs in the air seconds before a master violinist touches his bow to his instrument. Edmund realized he was holding his breath as he waited for Tayatra’s voice to pluck out the words he had written and turn them into music.

“Sitting bashfully, hiding its shame,” she began, sculpting each word like a perfectly polished stone, “Tempting lime with undue–”

“Time,” Edmund interrupted. “Tempting time.” There was a pause as Tayatra thought.

“Apologies, Master Edmund,” she said, her face turning to him. “I am unfamiliar with your handwriting.” With that, her face dipped again.

“Sitting bashfully, hiding its shame,
Tempting time with undue familiarity,
The face of the moon circled with tender hands,
I hear a metal heart beat.
Full of hope and future dreams,
Ready to cry out when the time arrives,
Passing through the sky like a cloud, I hear a metal heart beat.”

Edmund was stunned. He had never thought his poems were particularly well written, but hearing them spoken by another gave him a remarkable thrill. Tayatra was giving voice to his thoughts, as odd as they may have been.

Edmund leaned forward, knowing that the best was yet to come.