“…gleicht dem ungeschaffnen Gang des Schwanes.” —Der Schwan, Rainer Maria Rilke
By day’s end we are spent,
our lumbering through this
living slumber to the last look
light leaves us at the lakeshore,
swan‑like fierceness flickering
under feathers white and tomb‑like.
How horribly the waters part
beneath us, surround on all sides,
grapple us with long ripples,
bony strokes pressing us to
the lowest point of the lake floor.
There the silt settles from waters
stirred and cycling around us,
laid with whispered prayers
and dreams too terrible
to remember by morning.
How stunned and numbly we wake,
shake off the watery shroud,
breathe awareness through
lungs drowned by night’s respite.
We stumble down to lividity, hers,
a thought unshaken by morning’s breath,
desperate death where the heart
stops and air escapes altogether.
Now, words stick fast to the inner
walls, my chest still grasping for air,
stubbornly held by the dream’s
dampened and delicate darkness,
drifting in the swan’s scything path
and death, which is a letting go.