The Skull


The faces of hell

yell out at night with muffled screams

   dreams become nightmares

skull hangs loose in a noose

   in a tree by the fence.


I heave and sob in the night.


Dull form of a faceless woman hidden inside a cowl

walking down an empty monastic corridor

   accompanied by a mad chant

     half ecstacy, half misery.


I watch her walk away.

“Take off the cowl and show your face.”

   I burn with yearning; I want to scream.

     “Turn around and look at me!”


The skull is now a body

dropping down with clack and clatter

into a loosely jointed scarecrow;

   bones rattling in the wind

     arms flailing limply,

legs kicking out in spastic uselessness.


The skeleton walks into my house

at once both knock-kneed and bow-legged

   peering into every nook

looking for a sign of love,

finding none

        there is no love in my house.


In other places there is love

a lakeside cabin, a faraway place


     but not in my house.


The skeleton

is mostly a ghostly reminder

   of love once aroused

     now dead.


The skeleton goes back to the yard

in the night to the tree,

   arms and legs dropping off

     as if they were never there.


Just the skull again.

wind dies

   skull stops swinging, hanging there

     staring through hollow eyes.

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