Fear of the wicks. Fear of the sacred creamy air.
Fear of the debriefings on precisely which sweet
know-nothings were blown into him. Which
is a question he swells within. Which, he holds
the dark lantern to, and thus. Thus reveals
the sung-dread of the receding trail. Dread
of the breach of the sign warning of snowberries.
Dread of the sliding place. Awe of the night
disease. Awe of the waste-part remaining.
Awe of the dog child’s heavings. A dog child’s
stitching gait. His dark red hog, his brindled
hog tongue. An earless dog of the earless ones.
A dog an offering for the hammer mechanism.
Palatable is the sacrifice for the pitted tusk.
Pitiful in the redness without cover. Pitiful
in his muskgarment. “I go naked on the way
to Bolga.” Where the adobe weapons end
in septums. From the hooks and the searing.
From the splaying and the quiet. The tunneling
wind through his wet cage. Younger brother
of the earless ones, those Afrogothic. Out
from a giant growth come a noise. Out from
a pustular growth come a hanging. Out from
a jaundiced growth come the tail swinging its
length. Out from a pulsing growth come
the ash-smudged necks. Born in the time
when clay pots dotted his carrion farms.
“I bind the glowing worm in the forehead.”

-Shane Book

Poet and filmmaker Shane Book — a graduate of New York University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop — is a Distinguished Visiting Writer at Saint Mary’s this spring. A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, Book has received a New York Times Fellowship, an Academy of American Poets Prize, a National Magazine Award and the Prairie Schooner Book Prize.

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