Poetry

103.

In a place with too many trees,
where only the foolhardy dare to tread,
the night market sets its stall.
Just outside the deep dark wood
intrepid travelers pile their goods,
bits, baubles, coins of every kind,
villagers leave fish or shells soaked in brine,
anyone can write a phrase of their story
at the night market
as long as the sun guards the minutes of the day.
Come nightfall, the goods are gone,
and diverse sounds emanate from the stall.
Some say they hear whistling through the trees,
others whispers,
jaunty or menacing, respectively;
still others say it’s good-natured laughter,
and they do not fear their way.
Head back to the night market
twelve hours after you deposit your payment,
and receive an item in return.
Do not arrive early.
Do not approach if you spy a fellow customer.
Dare not take from the piles of day payments,
or come morning,
the night market will be streaked with blood
and the stall won’t produce goods
until the next full moon.
Fair work for
fair trade for
fair pay.
You get what you give to the night market,
and when you take what is not yours,
you are taken by the night
forevermore.

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