Retribution

From the dour sea of stillness,
She steps onto the white sand grieving,
Her mind the color of rust;
The sound of a sunken bell clangs
Cold and final, water runs by her feet,

But by such abuses-
She feels the dying, the bones of fingers
Scaring her flesh
Twisting like corkscrews, pulling her
Into God’s city.

Relish death, child; doused by the holy sea
She wades without wetting her soul,
The waves are flat and full of dark,
Into a blackness, her pale body;
The drowned are waiting, expressionless sirens.

Copyright © 02/28/2019 lance sheridan®

Retribution

Razing of an edifice

Jaundiced, weathered brick,
The other, mortar, crumbling sand,
Go to a grave in a cold loaf of earth;
The mason sweat, bones and bones.

Inscribed on a tomb, these lines:
Once a monument, citizens, scant dollar
Lest your pockets,
Be now this bleak outcrop of dead stone.

String up the assembly line for the paying,
This tour season is peak on a spewed relic
Anchored in rebar and a wire cage,
Rusted as to cut a finger, your wound to keep;
These two most penetrable foes gritted in a bleed
That will rekindle a mason’s envy, drop
His soul into a dirt clime beneath the sun.

Seek not his calloused hands for a prayer,
Nor the hardened look upon his brazened face
In a black and white life, nor put up a testament
To his footsteps in the afterlife;
His sons and daughters shoot their hands
Holding a trowel, mouths like troughs remembering
A reason; they stand knee-deep in a grave.

Copyright © 02/26/2019 lance sheridan®
Razing of an edifice

Mr. Digby and his ten pigs

Pigs love the dried mud drop
Slowly, grunting
On a grunt, up in the splattering rain drop, drops.

A testament
Prodigious in swallowing as they hog their want
Made lean bacon

In the kitchen slop and, stomaching no complaint,
Proceeded to assail
The seven troughed seas and every shallow depression.

Old Mr. Digby kept pigs, ten little ones
In his barnyard off Drury Terrace;
Butchers oft made queries
On hearing their neighbor’s pigs grunt,
Saying: Something is hoggish in a farmer who accommodates
That many squalors.

Sun faced red as a pickled beet, his raspy voice
Had long gone to seed, Mr. Digby
For no good reason
Plays host to chester, duroc, and increase,
With table scraps and cabbage feasting the palates
Of fastidious pigs.

Mr. Digby and his ten pigs

The stranger

What sort of person are you?
Do you wear foreign clothes-
A glass eye, a crutch, a rubber mask,
Stitches up your spine, is anything missing?
Yes, yes? Then we cannot admit you.

Stop crying. Expose your wrist, your hand is trembling,
Will not take a moment while we brand you with a number;
Now you are stark naked- how about this new life
Dark and stiff, not a bad fit, really.
Believe me, you will be buried in it.

Now your head, it is empty of course, coming from another land;
Out of a closet, blank as paper; oh, look, it can talk.
Talk, talk, talk in a foreign tongue- must brand that as well,
My boy, it is your last resort, will you marry it?
Your new life will work, there is nothing wrong with it.

In thirty-two years, you will still be in a hole-
A grave, with your heritage as a headstone,
And no one will care, not even your father,
He is too busy burying his other children;
By now, he is impervious to suffering
(They feel the sweet pain that only death can bring).

Copyright © 02/20/2019 lance sheridan®

The stranger

The dream digger

A window traces the night where a sleeper lies.
The air is winnowed by a stranger, he has come
To a barren field by the sea, scathed by winter,
Stained by the tedious pilgrimage of snow.

Barefoot, he stands, in a narrow crack of light
Sloped seaward to a cliff plunge, fed upon by whitecaps;
Odors of frozen earth arise, burnished by ice-
The dead snails leave a silver track.

High against the moon shadows, gull wings bend muted
Over tidal-flats where the ghost of a child played
Silent and cold, old memories bedded in mud;
Her youthful days ended, rusting like a scythe.

Shovel squatting grim as a sea witch at coffin’s border
In wait amid snarled wind and crack of wave
To trap the wayward stiff at a move of temper and disdain,
Now with flint eyes he digs deeper, fixed upon a dream.

Plucked from a deep sleep, curtained with graying lace,
A milky mist of bone and skin into a worm bottle-
Forbidden thoughts like weedy mussels pocked white,
Frigidly stiff on a windowsill, garbage of dust.

Copyright © 02/15/2019 lance sheridan®

The dream diggers

A fish story

I am a sturgeon and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Smaller fish, fishhook, just as it is by taste or dislike.
I am slippery and wet- I am only being truthful;
Black-eyed, four seas cornered, I generally meditate.
My scales are slate grey, no wait, olive brown,
And did I tell you, they flicker in light and reflect it carefully;
I like to hide in shadows of waves when trawlers appear,
Searching my reaches for caviar- pickled roe on a silver plate;
I much rather be swimming in a lake with an alligator gar,
With bits of my caudal fin snug in its mouth- wait, what a terrible fish;
Its long snout with razor sharp teeth, I would rather be drowned!

 

A fish story

Lament- to be shared…

Alan Britt, a professor at Towson University/The John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, will be sharing my poem, “Lament,” a villanelle, with his English/Creative Writing Class.