Webster was much possessed by death, he saw the skull beneath the skin…


The Idea is the thing itself,
they flow together as a single stream of blood.
The seeping lesion on the third finger of my right hand,
made by gnawing ratlike to the quick,
releases its spent toxins, my nails are spotted
by a shortage of zinc, knuckles already growing
an arthritic sheath. They are capable of miracles.

I am made more wondrous for my rot,
perfected by the fester that is the birth of death.

Riding my bike through a culvert the day before last ,
skidding in the driving rain, my wheels thumped across
the waterlogged corpse of a rat, fur slicked in comb-streaks
by the force of the mud. It was dead before my tires divided its gut,
forcing its greyish heart out into air between long incisors,
its intestines coiling like a deposed tapeworm from its anus.

I hauled to a stop, the hem of my red slicker
gnawed by the gears, rubberized fabric stretched by metal teeth
I fought against, scraping raw my knuckles. Detached,
I stared at the corpse, spinning my philosophies.
Remains; a relic of something beyond the words.
An image, a scent, and something beyond it.

The rat was there, the rain, the rot, all existed in this town
a few miles from my house, but I cannot prove the fact of it.
I could, I did, prod its burst heart with a bark-stripped twig.
I could, I am trying to, set the moment down in words,
the knuckles on my right hand aching, the lesion
on my third finger leaving yellow traces on the board.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope is an award winning author of the LBA, and a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Awards. Her work was listed for the Cinnamon Press Novel Competition. She received her PhD from Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing program. Her first poetry collection, A Radiance was published by Cultured Llama Press in June. Her second collection, Persephone in the Underworld has been accepted by Rufus Books and shall be released in 2016. Her work has appeared in: Anon, Art Times, Ampersand, Blue Tattoo, Sentinel Quarterly, The Delinquent, De/Tached (an anthology released by Parthian), The Writer’s Hub, New Welsh Review, Every Day Poems, And Other Poems, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Magma, Words & Music, The Quarterly Conversation, Tears in the Fence, Ink, Sweat and Tears and Planet. Her work is due to appear in the next issues of Poetry Review Salzburg, Acumen, Pacific Poetry , Music& Literature, Anon, and The Screech Owl.

Posted on August 7, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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