Prey

Since I am 

no snake

sloughing skin,

I hide my scars 

in an imagined other.

Not the obvious,

oblivious sheep,

but one more wary,

who waits

along the edge

knowing fear,

knowing

like rabbits:

one step left,

one step right,

without calculation,

equals death;

and any

volition ends

with a quick flutter

of feathers,

and the talon’s

sharp pang

lifting one

toward heaven

like a song.

(October 1, 2019)

Pompeii

Always nearby, Fear hangs back

floating like the hint of smoke

on the horizon. The city lies

in that direction. Home lies

in that direction. We are not

going back again. Still, it comes.

Its tongue insinuates the air; soft

words clot our ears with ice.

This is the time which we live in:

slow lumbering ideas, empty and angry,

tumble through the streets like rocks

tossed by giants from mountain tops.

No one notices the viscous fire

burning the flesh from our bones.

(September 4, 2019)

Beneath an Unrelenting Sun

“knowing less than drugged beasts”

–Ezra Pound, Canto XLVII

As we cower

beneath an array of bullets,

there is no forgiveness

for not knowing

the shades within shades

of evil. Yet, in this land

without shade, neither knowing

nothing, nor how to sail, nor

to have a sea to set forth upon,

even if a boat were here

in this desolate land

of sated men, and drugged beasts:

knowing nothing is cherished

as a privileged pleasure;

and so, I raise my voice

without delay, and sing

as if I could sow with my voice

in the cracked earth

some salvation from the sun.

(August 8, 2019)

Before Completion

from “Rendition of Change,” a work in progress

The old tortoise-shell cat slips

cautiously through the grass

as the storm approaches.

This-too-shall-pass provides

small comfort in the moment’s

chaos and fear. Lightning strikes

often and nearby. As rain

starts to fall, the cat watches,

motionless, from the stair.

(July 3, 2019)