oblate as the stenciled dusk
         stark as a weathercock
    trapped in rime
deceased as the sky after a storm
                   that diminishes all others
    black and white and
        gradations of payne's gray
    as the checkerboard excavations
                     of a future city
                on the far face of the moon

    no titian red nor rubens rose
banish those cad yellows
        and high saracen blues
    forget burnt sienna and umber shades
            slay evergreen in its odalisqued bed
                and watch the bright blood flow
       in chains of logic from its opened veins

    for this is far pale clarity
                in the dark's extension
        this is pale certainty
            etched in bone time
    and stretched like a victim on the sand
        this is ashen thought
            coated in the high collar
            of empiric degree

    streets and houses shudder
            in the wet achromatic light
                  like some huge crustacean
                         surfacing from the deep
       the brine streaming in rivulets
            from its chitinous hide

             congeries of thunder detonate
and the waters of the harbor flail
    in a ragged white-slashed array
    to palpate the boats and jetties
        that litter the shore like carnival debris

while beyond the span's arched severity
    where once we traversed
        from one world to another
    and back again   one more drop of light
                  aflow in the fiery throngs
            boiling with anticipation

while our hollow cheeks and silken temples
    creased with uncared for laughter
        and we felt aged inevitable possibilities
    raging and breaking in our brains

where you offered a meal of stray comestibles
     drawn from the palette of your flesh
          and the timbres of the rain
     and I consumed this feast
            as your feral stance consumed         my taut emancipation

    all the fine colors
        flee like lightning bugs and soldiers
            into noir illumination
                into the sea's treacherous past
        and night's pale disclosures

    all the ripening memories prevail
        blanched of their concomitant intent
                   and arch shades of variation
            oblate as the stenciled dawn
                   stark as a stump's severed parity

Appeared as signed limited edition broadside, 125 copies, Quixsilver Press, January, 2002, reprinted in the 2003 Rhysling Anthology