Saturday, February 23, 2013

Consorting With Thieves


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton




                    — Inspired by "As It Was Written" by Anne Sexton



O Darkness of torrid trembling,
we have suckled from your debt-ridden sky,
your gaping wound, as willing apprentices, 
seeking shards of penance to permeate shadowy thoughts;
we have knelt at your velvet heels, asking succor to succumb
from your surly grasp of these jagged-edged hearts, 
their disturbing, eccentric rhythms aghast.

Wind chimes are odd screeches at midnight,
wretched howls of dawn as they approach
this unwelcoming threshold. Stars scream
their ancient light into red-lined orbs 
as though we could offer salvation. We are lost
behind the moon's seven veils. There is no solace 
to be found when rusted crowns berate 
then behead loyal subjects for their sweet subservience, 
for abeyance of royal decree.

Nuns shudder as priests intone their flesh;
a wicked tempest slaughters unknown horizons
without recompense or reprieve. 
Peasants cross themselves, muttering in foreign tongues,
confused by conformity as masses gather beneath a burning bush,
a frothing bougainvillea, gasping and heaving stones 
at the appetites of fire, its brutal, raven wings.

O Darkness of sinful weeping,
you consume our blood, our every breath,
leaving only ashes behind, 
shattered sculptures beyond recognition.

We are become doom, cleft from beauty.

A savage silence swells beneath us, 
its terrible tithe in constant attendance, 
its slender, grey hand expectant, 
stealing tarnished coins from our blackened, unseeing eyes.