Rolling thunder—

Sounds like rattling bones

In a makeshift


Traveling over uneven bricks—

Coursing through the sky

Varied gradations of height

First loosening the moon

With percussive vibration

Then shaking

Newly budding leaves

Velvet green

From yawning trees

Barely awake.



Scattered light—

Looks like fingers

Flicking away all that flies

Stretching across and

Opening wide

Then curling back inside

A fist pulsating

Currents through the air

Bringing light to where

Shadows live

But only one

Moment at a time

Slowly and

Without warning.



Water pouring—

Tastes like a child’s tears

Hot and heavy

Filled with reflections

Of all that surrounds

But void of understanding,



Enveloping the landscape

In a pool of


A mirror to the sky

With no pondering of why

Only what.



As above the tempest

So below

The raging gusts of natural disaster

If love be called natural,

If the heart enrapt

In upward gales

And stripped from its


Be called disaster

Stripped, that is,

By freshly painted

Nails of red

Tossed and then released

Into the atmosphere.



And then, stillness invades—

Feels like bated breath

Unwilling to climb

Rungs of the rib cage

Or slip past the tongue

Of one whose

Voice must not be known

Hidden in silence—

No more masking

Than that—

Only quiet

Enshrouding some figure

Crawling past and almost

Out of sight.



Inside the stillness he sits

Shoulders slumped and heavy

Something feels different

(Reality varied)

An inventory begins—

He lifts his hand

To count all his parts

First his legs, yes

Then confirming his arms,

All accounted, yet

Discerning something amiss

His eyes move and

Focus inside

Where the hole was dug.



“My heart,” he panicked

“I am sure this is the space

where once it sat.”

Groping further down

Through his mouth

As though, perhaps

It slid


Sloshing now in acid—

His fingers reaching

He gags and chokes

Hoping to find it

Inside the vomit

But still he is without.



Coalescence deprived

Nothing more to bind

His pieces together

Like glue or like chains

Wrapping around

And pulling down

To anchor—

Now adrift on the sea

Of humanity

Only he

And his leftover parts

No longer a whole

He floats atop the foam

Like a corpse.



There is a thing that happens

In the mind

Between loss

And understanding—

A vacuum

An unhanding

Of reason

Disillusionment invades

It cascades

And splashes into pools

Of paralysis

Then sinks into rebellion

Before it hits the bottom of

Despondent and

Swirls with caustic deviation.



“Parts for sale,”

He spouts like a madman

From sunrise until

Dusk sits like a spy

On the edge of the moon

Waiting for its chance to fall—

“Pieces for sale,

gently used

never abused

no longer needed

the price is low

everything must go

no credit

only cash.”



The people pass

They point but do not laugh

Sympathy cloaks their eyes

They try to disguise the sadness

And yet,

“I see it there,” he scoffs—

“Do not pity

I have no heart

through which

to feel the pain,

sometimes in life this happens

there is no shame.”

He chops—

“Here, have a leg.”



Then, one passes close

Carrying a bag

Filled with hope.

The sitting man

Raises his hand to ask,

“Soon I will be dead

my last drops bled

with no chance

to renew.

My heart, you see,

was taken from me

and I wonder if

hope can be fastened

to one with no pulse?”



His hurried steps

Do not delay

From the corner of his mouth

He sighs to say,

“I have my heart

inside this bag

with some hope besides

but I tell you true

unless it beats,

an endless repeat,

there is nothing

this spark can do

for you.”

The passing man passes.



The sitting man

Beholds one flicker of hope

Flaming on the ground

He imagines hobbling toward

Leaping forward

But instead

He watches it burn—

Yellow to dark

And then

One line of smoke

Stretches, back curled

Like a cat

Being lifted from the center.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: This poem is inspired by German artist Ruprecht von Kaufmann‘s painting, Die Sache mit den Sirenen 2014.  http://rvonkaufmann.com/home/)