For the rotten words we worship

a wry­neck for ronv and James Agee

When our best effort grips no pen, last-falling ink illeg­i­ble;
When decon­struct­ed grins edge tooth and bone;

When graves or ash scat­ter truth; When the day
drone mutes; the night downs around;

When the flut­ed thrust of grass or hands evade autop­sy;
When: for­get ros­es; When

the breath bank­rupts and

hours lose their turn; Then the trust
sur­ren­der; Then the join­ing of hand to hand;

Then a cer­tain mend or heal will crust over eyes [thank you];
Then the blessed scrawls dove-flut­ter [please];

Then the bells but­tressed peal to kin­dred;
Then naught but kind decay abrawl in rest.

So our free writ remains the epi­taph.


When I was first work­ing on this I post­ed it by acci­dent. Woe­ful­ly, unfin­ished. To para­phrase Bruce Camp­bell: Well maybe I didn’t fol­low every last wry­neck rule, but basi­cal­ly, yeah, I did. Don’t kill me.