Michael D’Arcy, “Katabasis”


I would say that I have shown you

(I do not need much to live by)


that I opened to you, moonflowered

(and corpse white), that I climbed


over body after body through the dusk

(that you were cold)—


I would weep, I would grind and rend, I would

say this (that I was desperate)


but I must hold you at arms’ length

(to hold you at all).



Bland cunning

(o psychopompos)


and you frame the door

(of my house)


in my first memory of you

(my lapse, my penumbra)


when I made tea, and you sat at my table

(the small hours, the wingspan of the dark)


and we listened for the whistle

(heads turning, a single ear).


(What is devotion if not

cosmology re-centered?)


It dawned



the same night a cabbie asked

if I was a human being

(that I should have said no)


that we sprawled in my skull

watching owls dive

(my arms spreading, my headboard half-lit)—


it dawned, it dove, it took me up

that I would never be free of you.


(ruin, ruin)


Michael is a graduate student studying mental health who often daydreams about being a poet instead.


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