The Other Side of an Edge

One night I strayed rum-stuffed and goat-restless
from a city of orphans, from bright-eyed cathedrals.

Like a creature, I turned from that bright steadfast light
to trip down dark roads, hot and hand-cobbled.

Craving outside direction, I scaled painted road posts
but found them long-peeled by a thousand strange fingers.

Then in the wet dark and on the hot wind
a once-removed friend invited me in.

So I lay for a while in her coconut palm
wrapped soft in green fingers on the voice of her song.

Then the moon shifted slightly on her cloud-knotted mattress
I saw myself (claw-curved) for my once-removed friend,
a monkey-eyed lizard.

I ran down the claw tree, down the hand-cobbled road
past the rooster’s red hut, outside the night heron’s fold.

I ran to the jungle.

Lost, I tripped in the sulfur-caked mud.
Half-blind and half-choked past an overturned car.

With the strength of three men
I flipped the tin car finding two dainty legs and a head, bloody and bald.

Though dead by his eyes I asked for his help but
he hadn’t a tongue and he was quite deaf.

He stumbled off in the vines his head in his hands
on his two dainty legs straw hat left in the glass.

So far from the man I ran through caked mud
in the wet, in the dark under heat, on my heart.

While I ran the moon shifted, fitful sleep in her bed
flinging light by the foot on my fever-charred head.

In her light, a frond staircase vine-tight with rat tails
thrust at me, furry forward, like a road post, an odd trail.

Past the termites’ daub palace, Past a tower padlocked–
with fat boas, two beasts, six red spiders, one fox.

I climbed to the mountain with new air, a raw fountain
where water forms pools and falls jagged in curtains.

And I weighed my two palms (and my soul) against water,
as I watched and I waited — hot, hand-cobbled, and ragged.

I was in the lion’s mouth.

The sun with her knife ate night’s cloud with great spirit
And the rubber band broke it seemed without reason.

I heard a ripe voice in the wake of great carnage
It was in the tall grass, It was in my own person

At the edge of a pool, On the side of a mountain
I pushed off the rock bridge and dove hard to the fountain.

On the white of a foam and blue glass of the water
I drove with the nose of a green grass fish diver

Down past boas and beasts, grey foxes, and spiders
Past king termites and herons and dainty-shoed drivers.

And I swam then I flew and I drove my arms wide–

Under the bright eyes of God.

***

Small black butterfly
Slip the salt-thick muddy skin.
Ride soft sandy keys
Ride beyond rough crooked palms.
Ride the corduroy seas.

I am just unlocked.

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