Mudlark No. 44 (2011)


Hello, little pain-seed, newly lodged 
behind my left eye.

Probably, even you don’t know
what’s next: will you break

open, send down roots, sprouting into
monstrous putrefaction,

or shrivel, shrink, dissolve,
a passing ache passingly forgotten?

After all, not everything serves
as the start of something.

Mostly, in fact, it doesn’t.
Mostly, it has to be nothing,

as with the (no doubt) dozens of zealots who,
travelling the Damascus Road that particular year,

suffered a twitch, a twinge.  Only Saul 
was struck; the rest continued on, arrived.  

Mostly, we’re all just way-stations
for migratory spasms and premonitions.  

We fall with frequency and swiftness 
for lovers we’ll never even meet.

We sit down to pen treatises that might as well 
be scrawled in disappearing ink.  

Which doesn’t mean, of course, 
that now and then, something might not 

get through: a death, a god, a love, a line or two.  
So here at this point, small pain, I’ll humor you.

Claire Bateman | Mudlark No. 44 (2011)
Contents | Ode to Other People’s Realities