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"First — Chill — then Stupor — then the letting go—"

          — EmilyDickinson

Your furies have swept over me;
   your terrors have cut me off.
They encompass me like water all the day;
   on all sides they close in upon me.
Companion and neighbor you have taken away from me;
   my only friend is darkness.

          — Psalm88, vs.17-19

As the failing sun relinquishes the flare,
red tincture to the lambent element,
as theme is arpeggioed into chromatic suspension
before the blue coda, a brief restatement of day,
the mellifluous liquid spills in waves that refract,
lengthen, and ebb, resolve sanguinely to the tonic.
The hue of blood suffuses the echoing void
within the fresh hewn, iron bound, charred wood cask.
Then reverberating timbre deadens,
before the heading night can spiral down.

All stopped, all sealed, annealed, at rest, in place,
as still as the old woman in extremis,
after the clot has paralyzed her brain,
and the respirator has been disconnected,
her feet already cold and cyanotic,
as the daughter calls out: mother, do you love me,
squeeze my hand, forgive me, take it back,
descanting above the technical motet
of pumps and monitors, disconsolate.

Finally, there is quiet, there is dark.
A pervasive inundation now displaces
all motion, light, all space, with deadening liquid,
like the night, replete with grief, in which the orphan
drifts subsumed in stultifying chill
that verifies abandonment, drowns dreaming,
expunges joy with abject dissolution.

Stygian abyss, devoid of shadows, echoes:
deeper than roots reach, telos of desire,
chaos, here, division all undone.

      — Kathleen B. Henderson

Hear Kathleen B. Henderson read 'Entonneau'