Nondefinition #24

Lighthouse. They built the lighthouse where no ships came. Later, they lied to their children—told them that the ships had come first. They chose not to think about how sometimes the spices from the ships needed names, the hides needed scaling, the dolls needed pruning. So they prospered in their lie, until a storm broke the lighthouse. Only its coiled iron stairs remained. The warehouses emptied, and still the ships did not come. So the old men told the young men, who had been children, how they had lied. Some fled; some stayed, and helped rebuild. The sea has long since moved away. In the tower, where once was a lamp, now are bells. But whether the god came first, or the bells, no worshiper now remembers.