NOTHING BY MOUTH AFTER MIDNIGHT
Me and my seasons.
Me and my navel-gazing mornings,
my wrapped-within nights,
the self-decoding afternoons—
honesty returning to the precipice
to perch with perfectly curled feet,
cilices on the bow of my lips, before I look
back into the curving abyss—
when I want so badly to see,
and self pity's diamond-tipped drill
bores into the salt mine of fear.
And I'm just charming enough
to draw you near and drain you
like Lake Peigneur.
So when we're watching TV
and I'm a great lachrymose wreck,
torturing myself with tableaus
of my final moments,
the long-awaited proof
that I actually have a skeleton—
it's rising in me, like veins of salt,
tablets carved with the story of my hunger—
I cry for uncertainty:
a pre-emptive, speculative cry,
because I'm not even sick
in the classical sense.
For now, it's nil by mouth after midnight,
and my organs make ghosts
on a monitor, and they make a little
paper film strip—
a storyboard of blooming rosettes
or cells, or ulcerated tracts of gut;
bags filled with salt-candy deposits,
some horror reaching a tentacle
up from the groin into me
and wrapping around organ and bone
like plantar roots and heart worm.
And when they leave me alone
to wipe the cold medium off my gut,
I try to interpret the images
frozen on the screen.
All I come up with is this.
From Campfire Radio Rhapsody (2011) by Robert Earl Stewart