A furnace in my father’s voice; I prayed for the coal stove’s
roses, a cruise ship lit like a castle
on fire in the harbor we never walked,
father and son, father drifting down
the ferned hell his shanty shone, where,
inside, in my head, the lamp was the lamp.
The market, the park, the library not a soul
but grandmother’s morning wash lifting toward heaven,
the barrister sun punished my sister, I stared at my hand
in a book, the horizon declined in my mouth.
My little earthshaker, visored in placenta,
wonder of wonders, tremulous in amniotic
shield, ensouled already, father in the veritable
night, without house or harbor,
soon sea in a voice will harrow
a scorpion’s blaze in me, to the marrow.