OF FISH

          Man was originally similar to another
             creature - that is, to a fish.
                      - Anaximander

1. First Things

Earth is not
our mother

water is

and so
before birth

we are all
fish for a moment

the whitened fossil
preserved

in my body
longs yet

for the deep:
rising at night

it carries me
in search

of the first
waters of Chaos

with its winds
that won't stop

vanishing
its stones

that won't stop
unraveling

into sand
and stars

that go on
spinning

like numbers
on a number wheel

- there
where first we

turned our backs
to the sea

and singing
began our journey


2. Middle Things

As theologians
concluded

that oaks
are ancient effigies

of god
archaeologists

discovered the world
is unraveling

O gear and wheel
whose will

be done on
earth as it is

in heaven:
fish by fish

evolution advances
even as we sleep

the sad bones
slipping back

into their glove
of flesh

the mirrors
filling with water

the widowed moon
pouring milk

on the threshold
of the bridal chamber


3. Last Things

Thus saith
the prophet of fishes:

the desert
is a sky of sand

stretching beyond
the rim bones

of light
the desert is

a sea of thorns
that weep

small tears
of your blood

as you pass

people of the desert
meet fugitives

on the road
with food

people of the desert
are makers

of iron
and carve their graves

into rock

in the desert
we shall find

the pillar
of our help

in the desert
we shall know

the whirring of wings
in the desert

we shall find
petals

of what is
called fire

blooming
in god's mouth






OF HANDS

         Man: a hand and a language.
                  - Bachelard

No stone
that does not contain

a tiny sun
no word

that does not yet
contain the sea

this hand
reaching

is my hand
this sleep

I am sleeping
will end

- thus morning and evening
the first day


*          *          *      

The lonely spirit
struggling

to bloom into
the hollow body

Father tongue
waiting

for the word
to be

born
from the throat

the scar
on the hand

a blood mouth
struck dumb


*          *          *     

O spider
spider

moneyspinner
drowsing

in your hammock -
ghost hand

harpstrings
a breeze

whispers
into speech:

the one word
which is smoke

without salt with
out fire


*          *          *       

No life
this

is no life -
the word

a hermit's
lantern

flower
of light

glass petals
the hand

a water
witch's

trembling
wishbone


*          *          *   

And blessed
be the snake's scales

whispering mantra
over loose stones

and blessed
the blood acre

and blessed
the abandoned

nest -
orphaned hand

- dry tooth dry tongue
the word's

silk wing
patched with sand


*          *          *   

A window returns
with its light

and the hand
regains its shadow

a key
divines the lock's

grey secret
and the hinge

lifts its rust
in song -

O thorn
and nail

that are the words
I and I

But still
the fist

the stonehand
of the heart

goes on
battering away

in the mudcask
of the flesh

but still the word
goes on

wandering
lost

in the forest
of desire





ANNUNCIATION    

Emptying my pockets
of sorrow

I continue
aging in reverse

a blue bottle
on the windowsill

draining the day
of light

except
for the snail's track

milky way
bridge for souls

from heaven's
caves in the air

to earth
and a thorn-

clutched path
stitched

through the woods
the wind

draped
in the trees

white ants
rolling bones

among
the spider roots

whispering -

get ready
for this life

is coming
yes it's coming --





POSTSCRIPT    

This is no
longer the world

as I knew it -
thunder distant

as heaven from earth
lightning

the devil's skeleton
dancing fire

my spine
a linkchain of dice

my bones
ladder rungs

wheel spokes
scattered in the grass

a salt crucifix
pocked with rain

leaving only you and me
now angel

and even you
I see

are beginning
to have

some
trouble existing -


        T. Crunk 2007


T. Crunk is the author of Living in the Resurrection
, which was the winner of the 1994 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition, and Parables & Resurrection, a limited edition chapbook which is well worth hunting out.