by C. K. Williams
Face powder, gunpowder, talcum of anthrax,
shavings of steel, crematoria ash, chips
of crumbling poetry paper—all these in my lockbox,
and dust, tanks, tempests, temples of dust.
Saw-, silk-, chalk-dust and chaff,
the dust the drool of a bull swinging its head
as it dreams its death
slobs out on; dust even from the scoured,
scraped littoral of the Aegean,
troops streaming screaming across it
at those who that day, that age or forever
would be foe, worthy of being dust for.
Last, hovering dust of the harvest, brief
as the half-instant hitch in the flight
of the hawk, as the poplets of light
through the leaves of the bronzing maples.
Animal dust, mineral, mental, all hoarded
not in the jar of sexy Pandora, not
in the ark where the dust of the holy aspiring
to congeal as glorious mud-thing still writhes—
just this leathery, crackled, obsolete box,
heart-sized or brain, rusted lock shattered,
hinge howling with glee to be lifted again . . .
Face powder, gunpowder, dust, darling dust.