Inferno, by Wendy T. Carlisle
Wherever I halt, before the cliff
amid the birds, their merciless red legs,
the eye, my eye, returns to specks of flame.
Whatever I smell
salt water, guano, garbage, rot,
the rusty burner or decaying boat
the smoke, a shadowed wing, returns to soot.
And what I hear, ear tuned to scream
the hubbub of those pirate gulls
the roar of gas consumed
is shriek and tide and bird sucked in to shore.
The Bates boy and his oar feed fire’s mouth
beside the effulgent light,
as if the sea scavenged the sun and spat it back
into the foam below a corrugated sky
its blue rubbed into gray by a flue-narrowed plume.
The waves, the shoreline, heaps of junk,
edges incarnate in a black-tipped wing
and what returns is brimstone and a swallowing beak.
Wendy T. Carlisle
Wendy Taylor Carlisle is the author of two books and three chapbooks the most recent Persephone on the Metro, (Mad Hat Books, 2014.) See more about her at www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com
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