Poem of the Week: Florence Nicholson-Lailey – ‘Pebble Ascending’

Pebble Ascending

3rd Place

I echo and reverberate,
Quantum nowhere-to-go-ness,
But hundred-footed like a centipede Titan
in Tartarus.

All the world’s cold atoms eroded away to
This mountain,
A crystal blue pyramid built by slavedriven demons
like King Solomon’s temple.

At the base they fired the canon ’til their tears ruined the powder,
So they now offer their bodies and fire to a bronze Minotaur,
Pray to a brazen bull,
and I burn within his skin.

Coyote-haired Cain on a soapbox sings the anthem of Cocytus,
While Lamech promises seventy-seven blazes for Sheol,
Sunsweat punctuating his brimstone warpaint,
but both their campaigns call the mountain Purgatory.

Meanwhile I am
And on my cross I scarestraight the murdercrows.

The road to Hell rose to meet me,
As it did for all of us.

We shiversweat frostburned
In the breathless, sun-fleeing fireshadow
At the base of the unclimbable mountain.

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