/Black Oil

My heart is a bitter chock of wood
Cramped and alone, it shrinks
— under my bones —
like bread left in the cupboard
And every night my heart
drinks the milk of death, hears moans
of solitude as if all the wolves
of earth howled, like rags
of misery and their eyes are full
of desolate photos of hungry women,
of old people bent like stalks,
of children as thin as sticks.
It never finds a corner to hide in.
So the poor, quaking heart grows quiet,
listening to the cries of shipwrecks
from all the bays, twisting
in its anguish, impotent and forsaken.
If you come, in the middle of a night,
you will find it cut down in its prime
like a dead old man
at the foot of his horse.

Donald Wellman | Mudlark No. 34
Contents | “Offered milk or wine ...”