No Escape

Fleeting scent of rotting flora haunts
forest of stripped skeletons,
appendages sway in bitter breeze
while, sentinel of arboreal graveyard,
I keep vigil in the bowels of these bones,
waiting for death to ferment.
Woodland spirits disturb my watch,
catapult me from sanctuary,
refuse safe refuge.

Nothing else stirs but shadow and my mind
drifts to a time when waves
gently licked at sand castles,
eroding the grand promise
of impossible fantasy:
lovers embraced in sun-kissed
sanctuary of barren beach,
yearning for stars yet fearing to reach them.

Fabric of love rent, passion arrested
and long since locked away,
I am not Donne,
building islands is my sacred art.
Atlas with fallen arches,
I hold heaven at bay –
if you fall from grace
then upon grace you have never stood.
Welcome swells of inadequacy
wash over me, cleansing my sins.

I roam night streets, blighted streets,
lose myself in flickering
yellow tongues of obsessions
burning to ashes.
But return I must, at last,
to search graveyard of spirits past
for signs of resurrection,
to listen for faint scratch of nails
digging at boxy prisons.

©2018 Kenneth W. Arthur