Start a hole. Enter unpainted and common.
Tunnel in red and timorous. What will it reveal?
The tunnel is subject to what the eyes fill it with.
The air is warm and close, bright
with phosphorescent lichen.
Dirt and rock absorb your sweet breath.
Old made fresh through new eyes.
What appears to be white feathered wolves
huddle up ahead. They feed on what appears
to be caterpillars clinging to dangling roots,
snatch slow flies from the air, then scatter.
Earth gives way to descending rock.
Guided by lichen the tunnel widens
to a series of tombs and thorn temples.
A thronging mass of wolf-like ash keepers,
snake-like paper asps and aboriginal
mud-daubed come to greet you.
Cast in division,
you vie for the deepest shadows
grown in rocky recesses
where there’s no separate sound
for sacred. How will you adapt?
What new year could bend you to their rituals?
Advance as far toward thorn temple as into
soothe region. You are the tribute, a line
that reaches from thorn, west to.
Ash keepers shiver in spring-hover.
Thorn temples contain perfumed ashes,
urned in mud-daubed husks.
Your conversion happens there.
Your misspent life is redeemed there.
You once said sometimes love is not enough.
That sometimes brought you here.
The amount of pain a pan will hold.
The tunnel receives all
that have given up on scarring,
on breakage; when the corners get too tight,
dig. This is why you are here: to witness.
There’s an ash keeper. Grab it by the head.
It won’t hurt you. It is beyond that now.
Wipe away with your thumbs
the whitish film that covers its eyes
like half-healed cankers.
Its shrunken eyes wander sightless.
What makes them tunnel through their winter,
to seek further hollows, further divisiveness?
Their westering will never reach east.
Emerge from your hiding.
Mud-daubed can do no harm.
What flowers could you seek
in the overwintering of tunnels?
What drill could end this?
You remember how rain
struck nocturnal wood
but that can’t happen here.
Dust litters the tunnels.
How you wish you could
fill the tunnels with rain
and feel the comfort of wood.
Gaze into a tunnel, its black mouth.
Fill the opening with howl
and verge through shallow cope.
Draped on ladders paper asps seem harmless.
You have doubts. They are mal, can sting.
Do not look. Their fierce looks.
You cannot chrysalis.
You cannot claw.
Sleep will not find you.
You have desired to be impaled
by falling stalactites. You have desired
to throw yourself upon a stalagmite.
You cannot chrysalis.
You cannot cling.
Sleep will not overtake you.
Asps come emitting a crumbled
sound from their undulating stingers. The slow
crinkle of their skin over rocks.
Notches on your arm mark what may be days.
What is a day? A year? A lifetime?
How long have you been crawling
around in tunnels? You feed on larvae.
Wax moths fan their wings
and guard the entrance to thorn temples,
their rituals, the illusion
of ascension. Re-enforcing
how the sky lies, how ladders lead nowhere.
Wings stroke the minutes.
Their distinctive buzz resonates
in the walls. You chew through the wall.
You’re trapped in a storage room filled with detritus
of dead keepers, shedded larval skins, wax caps
Attracted by the scent, beetles and moths
wiggle from under the door. Your bare feet
can’t crush them all. Listen to the noise
from inside other rooms, of witnesses.
In the frenzy, you need to be removed.
If not removed, you will melt and flow
down through the walls. Stains
are never removed. How could they be replaced?
Like wax moths, they persist for years. The dead
attract beetles. Keep moving and close up
your honey-head. Enter through another hole
you found loosely caulked. Your vain
attempts to prevent further stings.
You succumb to the honeyed venom
of asps rising from the vale. They have come
to make a moist tent of your body.
Pinned down, you inspire a loose creation
that inhabits your lament. Their mission
is to drag you to the river of remembering.
They are lured by your slur, hiss, and lust;
your softening tissue, the facile flow
from other mountings, the shrine
of your body serrated. This venom
injects gradations of despair. You are caught
between vesper and asp.
The lance’s barbed meaning hooks into you,
longs for your edges. Barbs anchor into your flesh.
You are an unlit altar
clawed by a deeper wound.
Stained lace covers your abdomen. Vesper through
your poisoned canal, between wounds.
Asps sting your liar process, your lockout,
your silence and motel sanctuaries.
Your vesper is unable to rip out through
wound’s resistance, against the firmness
of your flesh. The comfort of strangers
haunts you even in death. This is a realm
where even roaming fails you.
Where else would you go
without this place to be imagined by you?