A Wolf at the Gate

          The last enemy to be destroyed
is death, insidious as mould’s cotton breath
wrapping itself, with all the unrelenting
indiscretion of any incestuous
          uncle’s smug indecency, around

          a vineyard’s blushing harvest, splinters
of silk distressing noontide-ripened fruit with
thick, walloping dusks of kisses rapacious
winter itself only gives to crushed, wind-worn
          tombstones when tears have gone, when their lone

          visitors have left them, when latent
extinction has extinguished ancient wealth’s last
profligate descendants, the final threat none
but a wolf waiting at the gate, a foe whose
          fangs collapsed catacombs of martyrs’


          vagrant bones wandering fistfuls of
crestfallen earth no stoic mourners have clenched
since having scattered them, since heavens to spheres
were still fixed, kaleidoscoping skies believed
          by those minds yet blind to science to

          act as mere windshields, concentric shells
through which god’s bullet-wound of an eye would fire
rounds, rolling when prosecutions bereft of
evidence would look to providence before
          executing sedition’s clever

          troubadours, leather-clad death himself
a messenger-minstrel, imbuing grapevines
with gossamer, frosting dew gossips imbibe
until black-in-the-face and blue-in-the-bruise
          ice whining its withered way along


          the throats of lutes until, choking on
its poisonous chorus, we choose to swallow
the illusion or sing for our Selves the truth
acapella in the chapel whose well faith
          deepens or leaves shallow, this body

          a travesty or a temple, where
we let our souls dwell the tragic hell we dig
or that everlasting paradise belief
allows, vanquishing death’s grim dance as simple
          as changing our tune, as staring down

          destruction and glaring into its
gaping jaws, wailing not ‘No,’ but ‘Now!’ knowing
that, at any moment, beholding any
thing other than our own mortality will
          invite its bite and make of us bait.