Copyright © 2001 Bob Dornberg

The Lesser Depths

The fogbound freighter rules the uneven swell
somewhere, out there, where we are not invited.
All night the breakers unroll like bolts of wool
in fever's shell, the sleep of the uninvited.

That could be our nature, the only life
scarred, overripe, the tempting compromise
young lovers make between the shoreline's if
and ocean's as of interrupted lies,

a dreaming angelfish on a diet of dust
behind a narrow plate of mossy glass,
bloated, familiar incandescent ghost
sighting a world its Christ eyes cannot bless.

There is, I know, another sort of hell.
I feel beneath my hands the ancient chill,
weightless, unloving, as if the dead could smell
in my reflected face the scent of evil.

William Logan
Copyright © 2001
Reprinted by permission of the author
from Night Battles (Penguin, 1999)

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