Sunday, June 8, 2014

Atavism No. 7


Night rain arrives
from time faraway
fraught with tears.
Glowering in mournfulness,
bowing to howling wind,
she darkens stars and moon.

In sinister whispers
her prosody intensifies.
The shadows are all ears.

Then as she came she is gone,
untraced in eyeless silence
between wakefulness and dream.


Every bivouac
it was the same dream:

a roughly human form two-legged and armed
wading empty of matter through
the plenitude of night.

Where nothing meets nothing
there is electric skin.

He named it negative man
after a childhood bogey
haunting a closet.

At the top of the stairs
behind that door—ghosts.


It wasn't until he had been
in the northern rainforest
for nearly six weeks that
he came face to face with Wolf.

He sat straight up out of deep sleep.

Wolf was watching yellow-eyed, wiry and unscrupled.

In retrospect he understood the glance:

wholly ferocious corporeality whose every strand acts as one.

But Wolf waits and watches,

calculates and decides:

if not this night, some other

in endless time ahead and behind.


Coming up from the gorge

smelling of forest,

breathing forest,

drowning unpersoned and quiet in it,

not even hearing one's own footsteps--

straight into Deer's motionless stare

not six feet away.

There was no decision to freeze:

just two demobilized for infinite minutes.

He smiles and raises his hand.

Deer bounds effortlessly to the left,

indifferent under uncounted points.


Somewhere in Québec

after midnight

he walked into the ancient Roman village,

first century or thereabouts, no doubt French,

thus underneath it all somewhere in Gaul.

Stone farmhouses and outbuildings,

tools left leaning by small stone sheds.

The village slept.

Dogs did not bother to bark.

They trusted one another through the night.

At last he is permitted to pass.

Later he talks to his father long distance.

“Would you like to be a senator?” he says.

“A senator? What are you talking about? Have you gone mad?”

“Not that kind of senator,” he says, “and not in these obscene times.”


Blizzard begins like a sneak thief

stealing off with the drab ground.

Soon trees are wearing white wool.

The cosmos is slowly muffled.

He walks quietly in heavy boots.

Every step the world gives way

a fraction of an inch, protesting softly.


Half wild dogs

are the most dangerous.

They run in packs.

They hunt.

They are not afraid of man

because men do not know

their unseen side.

He walks up from the highway
to the summit of a flat-topped hill

and is ambushed by a perfect triangle,

lead dog facing him.

He stands stock still

gripping the walking stick.

They return the favor,

which is: not one inch more.

There is no transcript,

for nothing is said—no word or bark.

He backs slowly between the pickets toward the rear,
right and left, awaiting their captain's orders.

Before he turns down the grade
he smiles to himself.

They watch him all the way
back down to the road.

The captain nods and they disappear.

E. A. Costa  June 8, 2014  Granada, Nicaragua