On time to the strike of a silent bell
inside the chapel of the cell
the heretic is whispering.
Spittle flickers on his lips.
The lizard into shadow slips,
the winter wasp staggering.
Soon the lymph begins to leak.
Telephones commence to speak
the stars back to their westering.
Earth laps up above the shins.
Another afterlife begins,
which sometimes feels like lingering.
RICHARD KENNEY’s collections of poems include Orrery, The Invention of the Zero, and One-Strand River: Poems 1994-2007. He teaches in the M.F.A. program at the University of Washington.
image: Hilma af Klint, Evolution, No. 13, Group VI, 1908