To Buk—

For he will give his angels charge of you
     to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
     lest you dash your foot against a stone.
     […]I will protect him, because he knows my name.
                    —Ps 91:11–12; 141

Dashing my feet against stones
     must be some angel whose name
     I don’t know, some pit I’ve been
     thrown into, some psalm I should
     chew on before spitting out
     invocations of calm that
     someone will hear and come, and
     with prayerful tongue dig me out
     or dig what I have done and
     rush to go under, mining

from hell’s mouth its sardonyx
     tar-tinged tablets of grinning
     teeth, those dragon’s claws sown deep
     by ancients from the days of
     heroes, Jason & Medea
     later again by cunning
     Cadmus, growing to sprout forth
     soldiers of words, those enfants
     terribles armed with barbed puns and
     razor-sharp wit, none have since

battled with, meet me here, near
     earth’s bowels, so close we can
     hear the planet shit, and go
     toe-to-toe on a black floor
     the winner polishing it
     with the loser’s guts until
     oil washes surface and gas-
     lights all the normals into
     believing they are bringing
     about the world’s end instead.

1“Psalm 91 [90]: Assurance of God’s Protection”, Verses 11–12; 14, in “The Psalms: Book IV” of The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and The Psalms: Revised Standard Version: Second Catholic Edition, published at San Francisco by Ignatius Press in 2006; page 636.