RODNEY ARMSTRONG

 

Blunder And Frightening 5.13*

Stretch and push
casually past
the nubbin,
pink-pulsed
and octane-numb
to the rub of grit,
in short huffs
heightened
against lactic drag
to a buzzard's view.

Forget
and it's vertigo -
the last swig
of booze, jostled
knees of an ottoman, blitzed
eyes seeking comfort
in a book, or dead ones
in stone.

Resume the trust,
the thrust,
the serration all
that matters
above the rising mound
of bones.

* Rock climbers rate the difficulty of climbing routes using a number system in which 5.13 is as difficult as it can get and still be possible to climb. The climber who first puts up a route will give it an outlandish name such as Blunder and Frightening.


Reanimated, In Six Parts

Part I: Found in the Woods

It looks
to be a stone
until

I

kick it loose,

revealing eye
teeth poking
from a mouth-
ful of dirt.

Part II: The Extraction

Formulas
and rites

comprise
my yellow
calculus.

Part III: Night Of Conception

Quality glass-
ware and cut-
lery.

Later, a play
in three acts
about

a certain man
lame from the womb.

Part IV: Incubation

Lay feather
beside feather.

Don't breathe.

Part V: Third Tri-mester

Mother dotes, spoils
him with gourmet
ice cream.

Part VI: Birth

I
turn away

at the sight
of his crown.