To See Another Through Something Other Than the Apparatus of the Eye

The clock shall not find me wanting, nor these stars
That rivet in place abyss after abyss.


               You burn better in the dark, I know this is god,

the descent of innocence into decadence
is his revenge against us for having loved too
well, too hard, chaos in the ashes, cold static

sending its telegenic punishment driving
our idols from complicity to denying
us the brawny comfort of their gilded kisses,

molten bronzes helpless as they bend, crumple like
perforated passion’s spent filaments, dead C-
notes taking their toll on shredded scrolls no longer

               documenting the obscene origin of our

world, sin’s indulgences purchasing holes in our
story the way worms inherit bones, this is
what heaven does to whores, at your feet atrophied,

a trophy that glows, scorching earth torching veins which
carry our real names into the red desert no
sunset applauds, an ember already emptied

of its spark, ours is sorrow under flesh in which
a soul compresses many depths, a caravan
trafficking in mistaken identities, saints

               caught between the age when serpents shed their wings and

when we first glimpsed our end, when your heart whispered and
mine said, ‘You’re the echo in my barely-haloed
head,’ it was as if our bodies went ‘We can get

used to this, being used like this,’ then, desire that
collaborator who brings the lion’s roar out
of the loners, stars neither in the æther nor

the theatre, together we were ferocious
performers of the morning-after’s unspoken
poetry, a war between the visible and

               the optical, miserable, a boy’s mouth rich


               with aphoristic pessimism killing me with

hints of tranquility, don’t go soft on me, don’t
go softly, let’s fulfill this prophecy the way
we want, baby, without honouring anyone’s

authority but that of our empty bellies,
tenebrists hungry for another day to spill
its light into this abyss, this bedroom a box

meant to indicate endlessness, it’s boundlessness
within which makes this loneliness bearable, your
flame melting from inside every memory

               of every man who lied to me, inside of

you, the devil’s sealing wax acts as a symbol
to account for everything, even nothing,
babe, I always resisted you not because I

didn’t want you, but because I recognized in
your rapaciousness my own techniques which never
sated me, when we wake will it still be dark? Now,

between recitation and song there waits, longing,
a shadow hoping for its vanishing the way
we long for our bad appetite’s vanquishing, to

               return to the naked blankness of the unformed

Universe our chorus of sacred perversions,
no longer contradicting or questioning them,
the intentions of him who sent us, no longer

having to choose between enduring an absent
father or an absent lover, just for once, or
for ever, finding in each other’s aching an

eternity of nourishment, never again
searching for what exists behind the pain’s eclipse,
to see another through something other than the

               apparatus of the eye, to burn and survive.

1Sylvia Plath, “Second Voice” in “[Poem] 157: Three Women: A Poem for Three Voices”, [Stanza 29], [Lines 202–203], of “Poems 1956–1963: 1962” in The Collected Poems: Edited by Ted Hughes, published at New York by Harper Perennial Modern Classics in 2008; page 182.