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I know what that means.
I've read the old pioneering stories,
seen inside Yukon cabins
and the wild minds they create
after a time - a long time.
This fever came quick,
not from loneliness, just the opposite,
from a convention of bugs
of mathematical proportions.
So now Iím laying here
staring out at the bunk room walls.
Darkened pine, old - very old.
built in the sixties I think.
He is lying in the bunk above.
I donít ask for help.
What if he doesnít know what to do?
And he wonít.
Itís better to have nothing.
Than nothing done.
See, How lucid and smart I am!
A wombat in the woodwork agrees,
nods at me and I respond
and then for a while we star
in our own Dances With - movie.
But Iím pretty sure allís
going well at this point,
must be, Iím not dead - yet.
The wombatís quiet thoí.
Everything is quiet now,
except my heart.
It seems to be having itís own party.
Punk - I think, is that a party?
Outside the snow is still
and I try to will it to lay over me.
Not strong enough - instead
it slips off the big tree - sshh!
That's when my eye catches an ibis,
Vernon Ward style
slipping down the wall
to sip from me.
I have nothing to quench an Ibis,
my fire has put it all out.
I must have bought this here
for I am punished in my own spectacular hell.
Itís minus five outside,
according to the door.
One from spontaneous combustion
in my bunk - then Iím out of bed
on my knees,
No one hears me.
Snores roar distantly in my ears.
Do I care?
Yes, I think I do - I want more than
the fox over there to know Iím dying tonight.
Still the knot hole, eyes of the fox look kind.
Itís the feather that worries me.
Magpie feather, black - like ink.
He moves in the bunk above.
I think of national geographic.
Boa-constrictors swallowing pigs,
funny really - not for the pig. Me.
Itís quite again,
a wife from another room
gets up to check her husband,
broken arm - banged up knee.
Is that real too, yes.
I remember the X-rays,
smoky proof of pain.
Why doesnít she count her steps?
She does different steps each trip.
Four times - I want to tell her.
Cry out ďBeware the stepsĒ
But my lips are seared and sealed.
I get up nine times, mildly surprised,
even my very blood should
be dried up by now.
But Iím smart - I count my steps.
Same steps each time, each time.
I know - I put my feet in the same
holes I burnt in the floor last time.
It pays to notice really.
Ahh! fire on ice,
did I melt the seat?
donít look just
Moonlight on the snow illuminates
three versions of the
silent scream. Funny, not there earlier.
Knot holes of silent anguish. Hah!
And now the snow loses itís night cloak
and the sun drapes salmon on the gums,
the menagerie slip away
and my mind slips back in
and only the silent knot holes
and the fox remain.
We make a pact, him and I.
To tell this night to no one.
Not the poem which we have read, but that to which we return, with the greatest pleasure, possesses the power and claims the name of essential poetry.