Hare, Stealing Below
Turning her back to the light
hare sits in the dark and waits,
inhaling dry earth.
One month elapses, then another.
Hare’s thoughts compress,
thicken, adjusting to depth.
The memory of air
still lingering in her nose,
in her mouth, her eyes
A clod of dirt
with only her hands to see by,
hare steals the long way down.
Swimming through coiled
and folded rock, hare slips beneath
the teeming skin of the hill,
eyes swallowing darkness,
hands lighting the way.
Deadman and Hare
Hare smelt deadman long before she saw him.
Lately drowned, he sulked grey and waterlogged
while all around him light scattered, light shoaled,
patterning the sand.
Deadman was something out of place,
the only still spot in all that movement.
Hare used her nose, she swam down
and got beneath him, raised him to the air.
Deadman drifted slack and listless, he kept
sliding off, returning to the bottom.
So hare went and got him.
Each time deadman sank, she kept coming back.
Getting underneath him hare nudged deadman up,
dumbly reminding him to breathe.
Again and again hare brought deadman back.
Again and again deadman drifted away,
dying over and over.
Something was poisoning the air.
Hare smelt trouble, and she had a hunch
who was behind it.
The land was stripped and broken, hills gaping
like drowned fish. Hare couldn’t fathom it yet,
but she knew that deadman was close.
Hare found deadman cowering, down in the guts
of a mountain. He was looking queasy.
Around him the ground was riddled
with digging, the opened rock
dumb-mouthing what he’d done.
Hare saw deadman’s strained grin,
and she understood. Deadman was glowing,
getting brighter – hare could see his face crawl
as the light corroded his skin.
If deadman so much as blinked,
he’d fly apart in one searing flash.
Seeing deadman ready to blow
hare did the only thing she could. She dug.
Scraping up the shattered rock,
hare piled it over deadman. Tamping it down,
she smoothed the mountain back together.
Deep inside the ground
hare could still hear deadman humming,
the poisonous light seething within him.
Hare shut deadman inside the mountain,
as the trouble leeched away. That was a long cooling.
Worlds came and went
and hare stayed put, her irresistible silence
pressing down on deadman while he mended.
While he gave back what he took.
(published in Issue 3)
Night slides in
behind the wet glass door
when its song begins, pouring
through our thin routine
And yes, we were just asking –
the warmth in the rock
first bright day
air like silk in our mouths
Now the answer rings
with the sudden flare
of an unseen yellow eye
it’s coming it’s coming it’s coming
Glass blacks back
our running faces
gathering in the day
a mile from the house
we stopped walking
lay down in the damp evening grass
we’d thought the open field
would let us breathe
we were wrong about that
even out here
over the mud-flat sweep
and curlewed folds of the creek
all we could taste was iron
the smell still clinging
to the back of our mouths
since it drew us out
from separate rooms
down to a closed front door
to what waited there
leaking on the horsehair mat
in the stale air
then all at once
climbed heavily to our feet
until the house
its quiet rooms
fell far behind
and we reached this sloping field
to drop into the grass
opening our mouths
(published in Issue 7)
Casa Alamosa Shrine
Living and speaking water is within me,
saying deep inside me, Home to the Father
Origen, 6th Century C.E.
I’m that lizard-like thing
under Meinrad’s feet
lifting its face to drink
as she bends her head
to an empty page
dreaming a flood of eels
and I’m all the world’s reptiles
sipping her dark red words
God Is Not
God Is Not
God Is Not
A Boy’s Name
which we already knew
the eels slide off the page
they sing to the dry river bed
yes eels pour down from her page
writhe on the desert floor
where the world is dogs
at mid-day rest
a quiet girl on a stool
Serious spectacled girl
we’ll swallow your rose-red words
until we learn the rules
Rules are simple enough
Rules Are Flowers
Rules Are Song
Simple enough to forget
which is how we get them wrong
But the world is three old dogs at rest
Meinrad, on a stool
in the liquid carmine glow
of the Black Madonna’s song
(published in Issue 16)
Dark Mountain: Issue 15
The Spring 2019 issue is a collection of non-fiction, fiction, poetry and artwork that responds to the ‘age of fire’.