Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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What the Traveler Saw

by Gary William Crawford

The traveler to the shadow city
approaches its outskirts
by way of a road to nowhere.
An artist himself,
he looks at this place
through the eyes
of the porcelains,
the ancient artifacts regarded
as unholy by the citizens.
The holes in the vases
are as empty as the hearts
of the people.

The visitor is horrified
at what he sees:
the citizens wear dark glasses
at midnight and pray
to no god except the ones
of pure sensation.

The government officials depend
on the people’s insistence
on instant gratification
so they can control them
by offering fast answers
of little substance.

The traveler is saddened
by this place where the truth
is buried, like the artifacts,
with the old gods
who will never be resurrected.

© 2004 Gary William Crawford

Gary Crawford is the author of two books of poetry, Poems of the Divided Self and In Shadow Lands, and the short story collection Gothic Fevers. I have published works of literary scholarship and criticism, such as Ramsey Campbell, J. Sheridan Le Fanu: A Bio-Bibliography, and Robert Aickman: An Introduction. He is also the founder and editor of Gothic Press (http://www.gothicpress.com/.)

Find more by Gary William Crawford in the Author Index.

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