Image by Louise Dickinson-Brown
By Lewis Turco
Its body is like that
of a buffalo, black and thick.
It is lugsome as mud.
It depresses me to think of it,
lying there in the corner
under a table of my study.
It is best that I not
look at it, though its eyes are closed.
I have fed it a root
of nightshade, and it is sleeping. It
will not cast me one of its
killing glances for a while. It is
content in its despair.
Its dreams fill that boarskull and spill
out of the bristles, rank
as gorge, into lamplight. I try not
to watch these visions in shades
of pallor and nocolor. Its neck
querls about its body,
translucent as intestine. In
it, slowly spiraling,the night
shade darkens and dissolves. If
I rise, it will rise as well.
Its lids will open to slits, its neck
uncoil; it will lumber
after me, nearly stepping on
its chin, for I have tamed
Xoanon. I stop and stare it down.
It moans, heaves beneath my bed
to watch me dream of it. The beast knows
its master, knows that I
will not think of it if I will,
that I can strike to its
heart with a look. And Xoanon knows
as well parasite from host,
knows who shall cast the last glance at last —
who is the master's bete noir.
From an unpublished manuscript, A Book of Beasts, poems by Lewis Turco, illustrations by Louise Dickinson-Brown; the poems may be found in Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems of Lewis Turco 1959-2007, Scottsdale, AZ: www.StarCloudPress.com, 2007. ISBN 978-1-932842-19-7, cloth; ISBN 978-1-932842-20-3, paper. Also available in a Kindle edition.