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Phallic and Fallopia: An Epilogue

2010 March 15
by J. Scott Mosel

Your movements are watched:

They have already found you.

This is the only certainty,

and will remain the reason for poetry.

Prophets Alone in Hell, Book IV, 21-3.

All the back rubbing is over, and the poet’s hands

turn ethereal — their eyes begin to water the land

and run off  into white space. They travel down

the Colorado, staring at its banks

for hours, hoping for stanza breaks that never unveil.

Their despair nearly complete: their condition —

terminal. The movement of water is sufficient for now,

its reflections the last place on earth

they can touch and find themselves

completely blameless. Lights appear as they float

near Las Vegas. At night and they huddle down

for warmth and secrecy. They intertwine like pieces

of polished driftwood, their flesh blemished and lined

with the tattoos of passages they must touch

to remember. The leader, the weakest one,

encourages silence, meditation, and the slow cadence

of the heartbeat to soothe. The latest attempt at religion —

a failure. Absent a god, they have no reason to praise.

When they stare into the water, they see nothing

but clouds that spell and ripple themselves to sleep.

Depression and loneliness begin to gnaw the strong

into silence — the lame accept death with smiles

and slow nods of agreement. The dead are pushed

off the rafts without words, the echoes

of each splash ripple up the canyon walls

and outward to space. In the vague recesses

of what is left for cognition, they want to be taken.

They lie down to fossilize and fixate on the sky,

hoping for a  last glimpse of the shadows that circle

and descend to them, the only gods that deliver

anything close to salvation — a temporary presence

of physical comfort, a moment of cool air —

an absence that cannot be named.

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