The Witness
by Jeff Patterson
t.2002 Bad Day Studio
I stood outside Nagasaki and watched atomic fire blister the landscape.
I've watched herds of sauropods stampede across the plains of Pangaea.
I had breakfast with the elders of the Anastasi the day they vanished.
I was Aaron Burr's second in his duel with Hamilton.
I've shared figs with Hammurabi while discussing Amorite law.
I saw Gilgamesh slay the Bull of Heaven.
I have seen the secret burial ground of the Sasquatch.
I have seen the fiery beasts perform their violent mating dance at the molten core of the earth.
I chronicled the invasion of the Indus Valley.
I watched Robert Johnson perform the day before and the day after his meeting at the crossroads. There was a marked improvement.
I have seen what is imprisoned in the vaults below the Vatican.
I watched Salome dance for Herod. In all honesty she wasn't that good.
I watched Mata Hari dance, she was that good.
I heard the prayers chanted by the high priest of Atlantis as his beloved city slipped into the sea.
I've had high tea in the Dreamtime with the Aboriginals.
I stole golden idols from the catacombs of Tenochtitlan.
I saw Vesuvius bury Herculaneum and Pompeii.
I sailed with Odysseus, Jason, Ericson, Vespucci, Coronado, Drake and Bering.
I fought alongside Alexander, Judah, Arthur, Khan, MacDuff, Montezuma, and Grant.
I walked with Mohammed during the Hegira.
I walked with Moses along the fossil-encrusted floor of the Red Sea.
I stood guard on the Silk Road as the first wave of Visigoths took the outer provinces of Damascus.
I watched Rome burn.
I watched El Dorado burn.
I watched Chicago burn.
I've seen Bach perform in Vienna and Hendrix perform at Monterey.
I know where Earhart went, but I promised not to tell.
I picked the wrong day to cross the Tacoma Narrows bridge.
I've watched gryphons hunt basilisks in the depths of the Black Forest.
I watched Lucifer fall.
I watched Icarus fall.
I watched Wallenda fall.
I saw the last of the gods extinguish the lanterns in the marble halls of Olympus
as the pantheon departed for the final time.