Mudlark Poster No. 67 (2007)


Psyche Cycle  by  Amy Pence     



for Chris     



Psyche’s Lament | Armor / Amore | Sex in the Dark | Stamens | Plumage

Briars | Seeds | Sacral | Water | Interior Castle | Boon of the Underworld



Amy Pence has a chapbook Skin’s Dark Night from 2River Press, 2003. Other poems have appeared in New American Writing, StorySouth, and American Letters & Commentary. She teaches college English and lives among many trees in Carrollton, Georgia, with her daughter, Ada, and husband, Chris Aanstoos.





Psyche’s Lament


I suffered, and I knew not why.

Trees dreamed so close

at your window. Their suffering

both aching and rooted, wrapped firmly

in the earth’s knuckles.  Your wings, Eros, beat

too close, too close—. The bird in my chest

would not come loose.

And above it all, the lovely: 


the lovely saturnalia, the shadowed ambergris. 

The lovely is all body in the dark. Though blind,

I knew abundance—then suffering: 

the lovely opens me wide, yet finds me wanting;

netted in your glut of trees, trapped

by the beating wings, the wings’ beating.





Armor / Amore


The mettle of         trembling whir

my dark-hooded dream                              motion: blinding

       opalesces                                                                         salt on our tongues  

until I no longer see you                                                                  to penetrate,

  until you are null: my sisters’                               know who you are,

             warnings:  stone-arm                                  winged, I leave 

                                                           my lover





Sex in the Dark


Our bodies—

their held errors.


Hands at each silky

interior:  no light

but the runged nautilus

where the beast








A cock sleeping.

Rich your back

when I am against it,

rubbing walls that arch

your hieroglyphic dreams.


Two fingers up

into my center.







Reticulated arch:

raised flute of my body’s

only Eros.  Heat at the globe

of my center: I mistook

you for terror.  Clicked

on the light.


Sonic clap

as you left—

my mistake.







My body’s open field

saturated with particulars.


My panic, a heliotrope

turning to the god’s

next mercy.


Furrows where, cleft,

I eviscerate.







Uroboros that I cleave

for this sorting: the ants—

my sacral nurslings—


kiss the earth.  Eros:                       

a dangerous secret

seeding inside me.







Sheep rise with wool exteriors

from mist, ruinous

tire tracks.  Like a beggar

I pilfer your things—


to find it:  the old bothered

metaphor for who I am:

the fleece of the ram,


the god in me sheared

and golden, collecting

among the dry twigs

of the self.







Crystalline shards: 

the past with its

anchored regret.


I am flooded inside,

calling you:   your absence

burns like blue water.


The modernity of my body

shifts its crystal goblet

breaks in the mouth


of great birds.  To meet you

as I am, quenched

by every desire.





The Interior Castle


Neck upon the swelling Rodin.

No fissure in the dream’s

flight under leaves: the pathless

path: soil to loam my skin,


its blank-to-blank.

                                                Labial, to roam the dark rooms, down

                                                to the hidden bruise of the underworld:

                                                our very Aphrodite.





The Boon of the Underworld


No cohesion, but my body

pulled towards that sweet


pang of death.  I walk

the streambed:  its bottom marbled


with shards, a black sediment

we could not mine together. 


If not for your plumage.  In my teeth,

the flat coins, in my hands


            barley cake.  Drowning man,

hideous dog, the knitted orifice


            made by the fates.  If not for

your eyes to inebriate the sky.


            In the seat of the sacrum

            Pluto’s rape: his soft concubine


            with her ointment. To have come so close

            then to succumb:  If not for the promise


of beauty, its sleep.  As if the self

would not age, but rise forever


with its crenellated petals.

When I open the cask, the god-sleep


of nothing:   In the end, you, Eros,

return—bend pliantly to my mistake.


If not for our embodiment: a hum

and sweet effacing.  Between us: nothing/


everything—the mundane and the deepening

particular, our emptiness/fullness


to each other—yet one tier of pleasure. 

Our aging into nothing, another.




Copyright © Mudlark 2007

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