Seven Abysses

Should you go to descend
Those infamous seven abysses,
Beware of the bones you’ll find.
I am not one for spelunking
In karst dolomites of my mind.

Endless mineshaft’s metal cage,
Canaries for the gasses;
From Flemish sellers
Brought those birds, sold by
Old oblast-men with molasses.

Rattling seven strata through,
No safety gear, no time for fear,
Down to a sunken pool;
Its secret waves will gently spool:
Thoughts are born in here.

Arriving in your evening light,
Sunsets seen renewed!
There’s no such thing as death
I said, collapsed on our bed
In a miner’s welfare cottage.

Night Owl

Thank you for your photograph,
Passport-sized, white frame,
On the reverse side in red ink
You wrote your name and
Number. The image I received
On the spine of a silently
Howling owl in a dream
Last night I placed beneath
My pillow and in a dream
Within a dream you emerged
From the portrait large as life,
Your lipstick as red as the ink,
A deep red, deep as blood in
The whales stampeding through
The caves of my sleep searching
For their calves already hauled
Onto the harpoon-stationed
Entrail-made slippery deck
Of hail-harried vessels in
The steep Pacific breaches.

You gestured to me not to speak,
Finger over your lips and I was
Transfixed. I watched you
Carefully, devotedly, as you fell
Asleep in a red dress, your blonde
Hair falling over your eyelids and
Your nostrils and I reached to
Brush those beautiful strands away
When your mouth opened and
An alarm fell out and I woke
Sweating, and drowning, as
A refuse collection vehicle
Reversed outside my apartment.