Innocuous Noctuary

Arise early.
A body architectured for toil, engineered for pain,
Worked to death until it’s delivered back to the dirt
From which God’s breath had its humanity cast—

A rose plucked from soil: petaled with a soul,
Prickled with a mind that defies its Creator and creation;
Created last, but first in His image.

Truss the give of the bedsprings
With those tortured instruments of berth—
Striated, cracked mud— given to build a hearth out of the same
Earth you were made from.

Allow its bounce to buoy the dearth of strength in your empty limbs,
Your secret affair with sleep, unrequited and short-lived, was ended by
The elusive mistress that once gave you a whole night, now only a taste of her
warm embrace.

Eyelids hang over your grey eyes and fat over the vanishing svelte waist,
Coveted in times past by Lucifer— the apple of his eye, puppeting your
Desire to spill your essence into a willing vessel; young Krishna seducing the

Wanes on the spine constructed to walk in grace,
Deconstructed by drudging the weight of years;
The handsome chiseled off your face by the hands of the clock.

Beauty surrounded your Ionic frame, graced your cathedral cheek bones and
buttressed shoulders;
The solidity of your muscles gave the illusion that you were
concealing stones under your skin:

Cascades of cliffs and ridges, bluffs of tightly knit muscle and flesh
woven on ribs,
Cobbledstoning a fairway for wayfaring eyes as fingertips
Stroking the tuneful strings of a harp;

A melody belying the stout of your hips,
Their V-shaped canal sprouting of follicled verdure by the shore of your vigor—
Hackles crowning as laurels the sharp of its protruding beak and coddled wattles.

This morning, they’re sandy debris of dislodged rocks and displaced sediments
Eroding into a body you no longer recognize in the mirror—
A guest in a strange house, missing the thoughtless
Comfort and familiarity of a home gone forever—

Neither the wild carnations of the pillow,
Nor the cool breeze of wavy linen can shed the fatigue that burdens them:
Calcified as pebbles ripping through withering parchment, written off by
your blood-ink.

The river that flooded your body with immortality has dammed,
Damning everything that flows from you— canals of blue mapping out of your
Heart, branching outstretched beneath your caramel-bronzed skin—

Recalling infancy’s simplicity
When you took the Edenic curse as an old doggerel
Told by your mother to rock your restless body to sleep.

Bones that wouldn’t break regardless of endless
Falling, now quiver from the cold,
The fear that the next stumble will be your last.

A reminder that the tale of first man became your own,
That time’s running out, that there was never really enough of it.
The springs of the bed roar antiphonally to the screams of your joints
For a Spring that will only equinox in memory.

Photo by Scott Murdoch from Burst

11 thoughts on “Innocuous Noctuary

  1. I can relate to this poem, Ze. I’ll be 70 this year and the concept of “The Now” has never been more pronounced for me. The future isn’t here and the past is gone—I welcome every day.


    1. That’s a great accomplishment. Getting to that age isn’t easy. I have so much respect for my elders, especially due to the amount of knowledge and life experience they possess. This piece in many ways was an ode to aging and my desire to one day reach the age of 90 and beyond. I’m glad you liked the piece. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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