The Queen's Temple by Alexander Etheridge
There’s a scorpion in your mind,
and vast fires in
The sun went down
ten thousand years ago, its light fell
into a swallowing dark.
Listen to the bell
ringing over a mass grave,
hear your heart stop in an ocean
Hear an absolute
absence, there where a frigid blue
sinks into the forest.
Hear the bell stop, watch the fox
and the lamb fall into black shadows.
Was it in this misty world
where you first touched the face
of grief? Do you remember
those closed eyes,
and that first wave of cold rain?
One vision bled into the next—
the first dream wove with a dark thread
a death mask for the final
dream . . . it was there
that you were born into
blind hungers and stark prayers,
and it was there where you set out to find
a hidden path up the mountain
to the Queen of Birds in her
ancient temple, where beauty’s
word, one perfect word,
lights the dusky chambers.
Alexander Etheridge has been developing his poems and translations since 1998. His poems have been featured in Wilderness House Literary Review, Ink Sac, Cerasus Journal, The Cafe Review, The Madrigal, Abridged Magazine, Susurrus Magazine, The Journal, and many others. He was the winner of the Struck Match Poetry Prize in 1999.
Cover: Amanda Bergloff