friends coming to my room
have smoke in their hair like hot wax
the odor melts from their heads
Someone has burned
old newspapers with the leaves
Outside my window
the wind mixes the paragraphs in a new order
Never read
Dido's wish rises
    from this burncan
    behind a trailer park   in Montana
    Aeneas is coming

Aeneas is coming apart at the seams
    on the tailor's lap
    The load of ancestry
    carrying his father from Troy
On my back, too
    I struggle for love with this clumsy Trojan
The spinning needle
    cannot tighten around one thread of thought
    on the subject
    To build cities
I have broken stones
    tasting their centers with wheels
    Looking for water
I have shut out the light--
    eating Leviathan with stanchions of meshed fingers
    solid in the bedrock
    Beneath all this matter of fact
    is the broken fire   of bridges

Bridges for the traffic of words
threads over the water
separating us like islands
Fire carving up
the back of night
the spine of raw nerves
cold against the walls of the hospital
pale iris leaves
As if somewhere
above the roof will bloom
large purple flowers of smoke
when I come out

When I come out
I return to the bridges
with the idea that we can be
strangers again

David Swoyer
Contents | Mudlark No. 1
Dying Near Easter, 1969 | The Beginning of a Frog's Chorus