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two poems

gothic depths


entering a cathedral was like sliding underwater
the temperature, the quality of light changed
cool and still and silent
everything else far away and remembered only
as noise and pressure, heat and glare
gone as the doors swung shut behind
colour fading as you waded in
your hands before your face, the pale skin
breath and pulse scarcely discernable
distance hard to gauge
all laid out in a darkening gradation of pews
the tabernacle infinitely untouchable
the ranks of mustered gladioli, arum lilies
dead man’s fingers gesturing through the gloom
and everywhere the after-scent of incense

Love’s mansion

A torpid canvas belly, poorly pegged,
hung overhead, not taut, instead sagging
toward them, moving with their ragged breath.
Like rooting in an iron lung, except
this flagged and sighed and bellowed in and out,
until finally they shuddered silent
and clung for comfort as the once warm air
misted above them. Outside the night froze.