Like a parched, slivered woman who’s gone on a diet.
And the night’s lonesome coos, they are sharp in their shatters
And the light dwindles soft like blank scrapings of batter.
Now the scene can be set when smoke can stay foggy
And they’re dripping sad ooze, stabbing cities all smoggy.
And there’s nothing beneath, not a caw, not a screech here
In the silence that’s dead but then quiet’s not reached here.
And it’s not lack of noise, it’s all lack of emotion
A slain alchemist’s fraudulent, miserable potion
They’re but lying, you see—yes, to you! and to me; oh,
And you think that I’m raving, but when will you say so?
No, I’m not a blank pit, dank with sorrow or madness
Just devoid of the typical meaning of gladness--
Be ignored for your sanity, preciously guarded
When the crumble-cracks creak and then death’s disregarded.
Don’t discard or delay! Spit your smirk at me not, sir!
Don’t just leave me to crumble to slithers of rot, sir!
There’s too much I must tell, though it’s not the desire, sir,
That of those who’ve been blown ‘cross the funeral pyre, sir!
My dead fingerclaws scrape against many a lie, dear;
Do not wrestle the yank of contortions to die here.
Now you listen, you listen—desp’ration fast wailing
And my mission collapsing, for here I am failing.
Sir, I’d thank you for staying, but I captured you, then--
I played ghastly ghost music with screeching in ghost-men.
I’d say you never had choice—for it can be quite redundant
(With the cobblestones cracking, the gap’s quite repugnant.)
Lost my mind, or my way, or a thing of the sort, now;
Don’t rely on clichés but abort this death somehow.
For the truth blasted through my fantastical shell-cave
And I wonder if this is how men become mindslaves.
Ah, but you are still here, numb with stark captivation
Your sad rivereyes wobble with glist’ning gyration.
And have I been mistaken? Or am I quite right, friend?
Is my castle uncrumbled by this frightful sight's end?
I will deign to tell you my discovery brilliant
Through my bumblings and rumblings of life so resilient
Up I’ll conjure suspense, wait a moment, let quiet
False-envelop your ear ’til the light will belie it.
Now, at last. My last sentence, last earthcrime,
My last inkling of loud ’til the end of my birthtime.
See you crouching concave, simply yearning to try it--
To collapse the sad silence, to wisp into quiet--
And defy it.
This piece won a Silver Key in the 2016 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.