Speaking with the Skull
Of your origins?
There was no instrument of any shape,
no figurine. No living things either.
I was alone & unknown, my account
that of the natural world—a tree stump
or stone. Blameless, I came into being
& have since been. There is nothing more
than that but the molten core of the Earth.
Of your original owner?
To the high priest I was his filament,
a soothsayer’s finery: future & fulcrum.
I grew tired of his grandstanding. I had
my fill & gave no warning when Cortez
came to call.
With regard to the end?
Abrupt, static & of a neighborhood,
then tame as a rocking horse. The wind
see-saws in my sockets. I sink again
to Mayan soil.
In defense of your powers?
I would not be if there were no need
for my presence. Several times I felt
sorrow, even pity, perhaps. An empty
barrel given to kindling, a vessel or corral,
this crystal cage. I grieve as I can & still
more than the Earth.
And your current state?
Landlocked in the tongueless expanse
of middle America. A blunderbuss, withered;
a branchless elm. Possessed, never loved
& on parade as a visionary paperweight.
I am what the living seeks & can do nothing
but foment their tardy fates.