Skin’s Dark Night Amy Pence

Absent Presence

Inside death—the lived world
          its immense unfixed fixity
          green shoots of grass
angry thrust of the amaryllis
          its painful branching underground

Silence in a dark farmhouse
          far from the road
Or looming headlights
          to illumine suburbia

There’s a pathway, genealogical
creeping below the hard and broken
stones          father, father, father
whatever you’re missing

its silence
its oceanic quiet
                    fills the body
inside death

There inside the body, room
          for small creatures, room
          for immensities, room
          for numerous folds, unfolding
          like O’Keeffe’s Dark Iris III: an internal suffusion
          pungent nautilus of gray inside death

In suburbs, in cities, in the illicit creeping heat:
death, that machine that guts & bends
                    waking the sleepers inside
                                        the sleeping
                    waking the dreams
                                        inside the sleepers

The sift & visible conscious
like a giant lidded eye dreaming, then wakeful
                    nestled and nestling.
          a lathe that runs and churns on emptiness
          the lack
          what we want and want
                    inside the very skin in the body
an easeful repetition
mother, mother, mother
the cellist woos us, bending—
sullen throb, into those infinite tines
as if nothing stops,


February 2003 2River