Poem of the Month

In Humus

I don’t deny I lived in this layer,
never reached bottom
with these short legs
to touch the Buddha below,
his copper belly greening.

Or that I couldn’t keep my head
from dream and nightmare
despite the clouds endlessly changing
into sheep and cows
grazing above my poor head.

The thin reach of my arms
appalled me—even the violin
out of reach, its precious imitation
of the human voice suffering
and exulting. 

Charged with this, I’ve no recourse
but to be buried
in a deerskin casket. They’ll upgrade you,
said the woman who made
the arrangements. She offered 

two kinds of crackers—cheese or peanut butter.
Gave me a miniature bottled water
and took my numbers
before I drove my car
past the gate. I try to imagine

sleeping above many rooms
of that labyrinth I can no longer
call hell or Hades,
where the mole
carves palaces of thirst and waste.