Ill winds slap me about, the gale whips off my clothes,

sucks the life from my lungs and the words from my throat.

There’s no love still enough to rebuke, calm the flap

so a wisp of my voice can sneak out.

Careless flames fondle me, their tongues lick off my skin,

char my cheeks to cinders and my lips to a clink.

There’s no love clear and cold distilled to wet my trap

for a spittle of voice to leak out.

Monster swells raise shear walls that fall all over me,

hug me way down below where I can’t see to breathe.

There’s no love light and deep to still buoy me up top,

press my chest so my voice will squeak out.

Dry dirt quakes, dead earth breaks, the rock splits like a shake,

tumbles me in a pit where I can’t hear the dark.

There’s no love thick and quick that will bind up the gap

and still bear a small voice to peek out.

Still, 2009, acrylic on panel, 7x10”