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As water is forced between squeezed fingers

so is clay.  Wet, grey, clammy, collapsed

from wedging.  You press fingers together

to contain it, prevent from escaping but it

squirms out between tight molecules.


Outside wind rises.  Here drought withers all,

dead waterfall now merely a slash of bleached

rock bisecting dark ravine, a pale tongue of salt,

reflections on walls tell of storms, floods, mudslides

on the other side.  Clenched fingers.  You dream

of dog’s teeth.


Clay.  The animal is bear-sized, off white.  Your

fingers lock into its teeth, hold jaws apart from

snapping.  Muscles strain, spine and shoulders

dragging teeth apart.  How much longer?  Animal

stench.  Porous or oily?  Why clay, why you?

Only a question of time before all strength departs.


Slow.  You watch clay escape between your digits.

Oil turns to rock, hardens to teeth.  One side chalk

the other liquid between the stars.  You solidify.

Ursa Major spread across the sky from point to

point.  Wheel spins between your outstretched

fingers.  Wild animal hunting across your night.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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