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My trachea’s a well that draws up pails
Of cloudy rainwater, my bronchioles
Rivulets in a fen, my lungs dark bales
Of sodden straw. My eyes are bowls

Of dirty sleet. My limbs are sedge and moss
In mist meandering like mercury.
The fever fills and falls in me. I toss
The blankets off then drag them back on top of me.

They’re mounds of peat. I sink and summon cold
Centuries of songs and sediment,
Swords jagged with rust to hilts, epics untold,
The headboard a buried Roman pediment,

Long summers sailed upon, stiff bows restrung,
Asphalts poured over paths of my demesne,
Tapestries unrolled and beaten, rehung,
Towers raised and torn down and raised again.

Ernest Hilbert

Image by John H. Darch, licensed via Creative Commons. Filter added, image cropped.