Hail, Lady Death–
Let me smell your sulfur.
The stench of thawing soil, steaming
Like vast carrion on a crisp day
When the air feels thinner than itself;
And breath catches maybe
From the beauty or the throat freezing shut
Hail, Lady Filth–
Let me taste your shit.
That which should become humus,
From brown to black,
As it has done since the beginning.
Your fermentation, loamy and sweet
Is the way of things.
But we have become afraid.
Hail, Lady Violence–
Let me hear you break.
The thunder in the earth is you
And not you.
We beat your body flat, your bones catching
Like a rug out for dusting
Like a man
Out of line.
Hail, Lady Grief–
Let me feel your tears.
You seep from slow and sudden wounds
Like sebaceous glands of black tallow
Or glacial milk or tailing water
Instead we battle the hurricane
Nursing like fleas
The teats are on your back.
Hail, Lady Extinction–
Let me see your face.
Jaundiced, pocked, filed teeth
Condemned to see with perfect sobriety
The fratricide like a crawling sigh
And a bad hangover.
“Have mercy on the disease,” we suggest;
Warden’s keys jangling at our belts.
Hail, Mother Darkness–
Let us know your love.
You have suffered every salted injury,
Every humiliation, and yet
We are all still welcome in your embrace.
The question isn’t If, but When
And whether, even then,
We will know what needs righting.