Three Blacks in Dark Blue
What if I die and wake in the dark
like a body lain flat in a boat,
aimlessly roaming oceans of space?
Years beyond our blue-green swirl of life,
Miranda’s tinny whining mantle
of ice, the haunted lagoons of Saturn,
exhalations of Neptune’s grave blue,
it’s glowing cold like a ghost of Earth.
What if the dead are just clouds of dust,
souls in multiple no longer bodied,
drifting in the serum god knows what,
unable to hear the popping static,
whistling pink, interstellar darkness,
crashing red, sounds like drums, helium,
insects, dread. I fear when we are dead
we are less moons drifting from their suns
than lithe thought in a river of gloom,
matter so dark it cannot be seen.
What if death has no starting point and
we are always in its river, stuck.
What if even now I’m here and there
at once: in my body on this Earth
but also sailing dark into dark,
black into shimmering bands of night.
Sometimes on this Earth I catch myself
falling through my fingertips.
I know we may die and then be done,
but what if we go on and on, nothing
in our wake or in our way, just now
opening like a mouth lacking sound,
the matte-black centre pulling us in
a million years from what might have been.
This poem is from the author's recently completed manuscript of ekphrastic poems, Light, Earth, and Blue: Poems After the Paintings of Mark Rothko.
Caley O’Dwyer is a poet, painter, psychotherapist, and teacher living in Los Angeles. His poems appear in American Poetry Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Ekphrasis, and numerous other venues, including the Tate Modern Museum in London (as part of the 2008 Mark Rothko Retrospective). He is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and a recipient of a Helene Wurlitzer grant for poetry. His first poetry collection, Full Nova, was published by Orchises Press (2001).
The Ekphrastic Review
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