A Charm Against Captain Poison
      & Captain Seafish

daughter of the blue man
she sways to the left and then sways to the right
she is the descendant of ancient notables and worthies
she walks surrounded by myriad harms
malicious beings and voices
toward greasy beaches and trashy bus stop shelters

you can see his sadness in his body
in the way he walks and breathes
and looks in one direction only

is there a change in the weather
and no corresponding change in me?
when he fell down, his spirit flew off

sir, she said, I know
where the tiny ones live
the people made out of sticks
how glad I would be to show you the way
a woman with her hair tied back
to keep it from tangling with things
saying prayers, a handful of gravel to count with
against Confusion and Stupidity and other beings
a spirit army poised against one breathing child
smoking a long cigarette, peeling off a crimson sock
to stroke her dirty instep
all the time talking
fragments of grief and injury

once a year the souls of former kings
and mighty ones were visible
she shivered "like a bird in the rain"
the singing of the sea spirit
and of the forsaken spirit at the edge of the village
they call up for dancing the fiery substance
the body's companion
and a thousand tricks and names as well
in the shadow of the orchard,
little praying mantis small and pampered
the old holy people, the king of the birds,
words that have a sweet taste
kings asleep on a green mountainside
the father is invisible inside the garden
inside the complicated body
stands a tree that is naked and white
(true body
and sweet principal world)

Robert Gregory | Mudlark No. 17
Contents | A Sleepy Town, One Black Marble