The hem of the cloud cover
does not quite reach her ankles:
her toenails are polished with silver,
but tarnish remains in the seams of her feet.
Slow and ancient
marsupials are there
in the pools of light.
You can't see them but you can feel
the hesitation of their wrinkled paws,
the tremor of their slow hopeless grope.
They arch their backs
and their blind snouts
nose in the skirts of cloud.
Coming to the edge today,
I looked and saw dolphins
playing in the deep, drawing
clusters of stars behind their tails:
spurts of darkness
rose above their heads.
I set one slender spike
and raised the sledge.
Catlike hisses came from
the unseen watcher
as if from some steam engine
afraid to die;
but oh, the sting of the haft
as the hammer struck home!
It's ringing still
in the great bones of my enormous arms,
and their shivering light filled
the hang of the emptiness
where the dolphins played.
holds back the evening for long
and the creatures that nose for night
are older than me,
older than my kind;
and the even the light that still runs out
through flaws in the shell
is forced by the irregular beat
of this dear deep beast, my heart.