Stairway to the Stars

"And then there were three
whereas before there had been four
or two

And then there were four or two."
Thus spake the King.
No one dared ask what it meant.

He seemed satisfied by the beauty
of the logic that had arrived,
the royal hall now lightly radiant

as he arose from his throne
and the world fell away,
courtiers, battlements, and clouds,

and he rose like a piece of paper
on which his effigy had been traced
in dotted lines whose dots came loose

and flew away to a place in history
where nothing mattered.
And then there was one.

Ron Padgett, "Stairway to the Stars" from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2013 by Ron Padgett.  Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press.
Source: Collected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2013)
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