For Nine Days Does the Anvil Fall: One

[A]s far beneath the earth as heaven is above earth; for so far is it from earth to Tartarus. For a brazen anvil falling down from heaven nine nights and days would reach the earth upon the tenth: and again, a brazen anvil falling from earth nine nights and days would reach Tartarus upon the tenth.

Driven by the same engine
to describe a new language
using old letters, the dead
of the hotel are chanting

without reservation for
nine whole days maledictions
against mortals more awful
than worth recording, slanting

rhymes alongside transgressions
filling coffins with fictions
the way convictions mention
miracles unattested

          when saints write their own legends,
          preferring to lie instead.


Reaching for earth on the tenth,
pens fall on parchments whispers
rise from as breath does vented
by hands tired and resenting

having had to represent
as having had happen then
an incident which never
did, in its telling panting

sighs denying ambition
other than devotion led
guests of this flesh to fill in
for souls resurrected, bled

          oil from machines for living
          dripped like ink when disabled.

1Hesiod, “Theogony”, Lines 720–725, in The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, published at Cambridge, Massachusetts by Harvard University Press in 1914; page 131.