[From The Epilogue Poems]
A doctor extracted
From my blood its tusk
The mountain-root from my body
The seven-seas’ spring from under my eye-tooth
Emptied my skull
Of clouds and stars
Pounded up what was left
Dried it and lit it and read by its flame
A story to his child
About a God
Who ripped his mother’s womb
And entered it, with a sword and a torch
To find a father.
I hear your congregations at their rapture
Cries from birds, long ago perfect
And from the awkward gullets of beasts
That will not chill into syntax.
And I hear speech, the bossed Neanderthal brow-ridge
Gone into beetling talk
The Java Man’s bone grinders sublimed into chat.
Words buckle the voice in tighter, closer
Under the midriff
Till the cry rots, and speech
Is a fistula
Eking and deferring
Like a stupid or a crafty doctor
With his year after year
Of sanguinary nostrums
Of almosts and their tomorrows
Through a lifetime of fees.