Eyes Closed

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Sleep will not come, but old ghost comes
He knows the doors, the steps
And every key to every long locked door

Wildfire cannot burn so well as he,
And searing heat is balm beside his gaze,
Each word, each phrase of his
Falls like the heart of stars
And crushes, scorches,
Makes red the sky

I curse that sky and all its shades
For God looks down who once looked down
On innocence and peace
And jealous for what He could never know
To Him he took each undrawn breath
And all its songs and stories, first to last

Old ghost, old ghost,
Thy worm-voice burrows in my ear
Writhing inward, seeking clean meat
To chew and feast,
Leaving waste and brooding eggs
To wake and stretch
Draw breath and feast and live
Each in their time, and they shall have their time,

I’ll wait for no nativity
But garb myself in feathers midnight-black
Crow’s garb, Raven’s mantle,
Climb step by step, and step by step
Till heaven’s borders shrink before each step
Tainted by flesh,
Grass withering at wrath’s contagion.
And will He hide as He has always hid?
I’ll shatter every stone, split angel flesh
From angel bone and gory-faced
Belly full of seraphim,
While that old Miser skulks
In words, excuses and wrung hands
Of ancient priests, I’ll waste His realm
And having found His treasure vault
Disdaining gold and light
And music rare, all things of His creation
Offered to Him, taken by Him,
One thing I’ll seek, just one, just one
And hold you fragile as an egg
In gentle hands, both hands
And whisper half remembered songs
And greetings, and farewells.
On His cold throne I’ll place you
And kneeling by your side
To sleeping eyes
Point out the stars
Their names, their stories, old and new
And of my flesh and bone
I’ll weave a crown
More noble and more foul than simple thorns
And on your brow I’ll set it
Then all is done, and every feather falls,
And dawn, cruel dawn will steal me from your side

Your eyes perhaps will open when I close
blue, for now, perhaps
gaze on the ruined paradise
And weep at devastation, but it’s yours
Build what you will, create,
And sing, and stories tell,
Raise worlds, and tyrants,
Endless oceans sail, and dragons ride
Consort with princes, rebel kings,
Or what you will, or what you will

I’ll fall, each feather lost to me
Reluctant raise my eyes to dismal room
And wipe them dry once more
In morning’s gloom
And by the door
Old ghost I’ll see
Departing smiling till the night.

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