How strange that we have to
make these public declarations
of our secrets. But we do.
– Ted Hughes
The gutter that runs behind the town,
once river soiled just by Marin-balluk blood,
or blood they spilled, that snakes
along behind the town, boosting sloops
at sleep above its arsenic, waters the stiff
myth of impotence that mediates a birth.
There is always something, they say,
that somebody in the room knows. Fondless
speculation fills the colder mouths. Some gas
lights an unfixed soul along a final way,
the unproductive hunger gnawing scattered
on its rising places, wounded by its own folly.
Nature organises nature, in lines, coils, fangs.
And there it is. Fear has blooded
the furtive resummoned face of the babe.
One long determined look, determined
who knows how, conjures yet the old terrors.
No boast of love’s unearthly pedigree
can pretend my heritage, or it away.
And I can hold these things, but not at bay.