Terminus Est (To Gene Wolfe)

Puzzlemaster reverse-engineering
reader trust
so that every word believed
is a sleeper-cell assassin sent
with a sleeve-slipped blade
ready to slay complacent Caesar
as he sits enthroned in
duplicitous plot.
And how subtle the blades
between the lines:
we may finish a whole tome
without realizing the deadly
deceit
lurking so obviously in plain sight.
He is a cloak-and-dagger narrator
betraying us so masterfully that we
celebrate his ingenious betrayal
as he diverts us yet again with another
wizard-knight subterfuge.
In his worded worlds
an executioner can be a savior
and Time is engendered by paradox—
hermaphroditic and promiscuous,
yet asexual with its meaning.
The crown and the throne
are the same, occupying the same
place and role:
an ass’s head elevated and
bottomed out
above and below itself
as the grandfather paradox comes round
full circle,
full cycle,
bringing with it a new sun.
Nor is rewinding the sun a parlor trick,
nor a smoke-and-mirror sideshow
arranged by extraterrestrial angels.
He simply tells a story with the dim light
of a dead sun
and the telling of the tale
rebirths that sun
alongside a new meaning
and many meanings
in the end,
breathing new life into a
dying earth.
Do not go lightly into the mist—
who knows what
amnesiac
may return in your stead?
Christian allegory has never been so
secular.
Never has swords-and-sorcery been so
scientific.

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