by Angelique Cridland

there she was, incomprehensible,
one of the six-inch guns;
a little white smoke
a tiny projectile

Nothing could happen.
a touch of insanity
lugubrious drollery
assuring me earnestly

her letters
were dying of fever
the merry dance of death
still and earthly

overheated formless
as if Nature herself
tried to ward off intruders;

death in life,
thickened into slime,
that seemed to writhe
an impotent despair,

a particularized impression,
vague and oppressive
like a weary pilgrimage
for nightmares.

thirty days before
anchored off the seat
my work would not begin
two hundred miles farther on.

a place thirty miles up
knowing me
invited me on
fair, and morose