The craftier angle is to hear them: hover
in the doorway, in total darkness, hands
held behind your back. She takes a stand
against him in the shadows, as her lover
flails, barefoot on carpeting: jabs, another-
these two miserable adolescents, tokens
of the dirge that was this tepid Philly 'burb,
clown choruses pining for images, curbed
words replaced with scripts, minds unbroken
finally meeting ends in winter rain, soaking,
drenched with venom against the solid.
What to look for: register his life-force
energies against hers, for the first course
her rhetoric takes against him, her stolid
defiance, sharply defined, against knowledge
that she's veered over into eerie wilderness.
It's true, the abyss laughs around her, & him,
but she's slightly more bound up in it, thinned,
bruised beneath surfaces to embrace the abyss,
all he needs is a caress given really, a kiss-
he won't get it. What he'll get is the meaning
of the surface she's chosen: bone, dust, webs.
Yet they stand exalted as they taste the dregs-
someone's watching elsewhere, & scheming.
Transmutation must happen, past dreaming-
that spirit, against the animal, is real in them.
The doorway is hinged to show you two souls-
unvarnished, electric, whether riddled with holes
or not, & love of a kind is being made, & gems.
The craftiest angle is not you, if you will, but them-
As per other notable conservation moves: two versions of Mary Harju's "The Fall": the initial, Aughts, September 2008 version, with Mary's own commentary; and the 2016 ekphrasis version, with my poem to accompany the painting.