Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The Three Cataclysms

In the first one, you were young,
Mostly healthy. You just fell.
What is that like? Don’t focus

On the pain. Check the change
Of state, the transformation.
It felt like being a fish

In Kong Zi’s or Heraclitus’ stream
Suddenly struck by a divine cuss,
Reduced to a rock in the sand.

The stream flowed on around you.
When you stirred your gills
You found you were you again,

But the stream had changed,
Not just the water, the bed.
You swam on. Round two.

A fall with a twist, a few twists.
Your swimming partner went haywire,
Terrified you, went belly up,

And then you were struck down again,
Dull as stone. The fins weaved
Back into the water more weirdly.

In a way, you never felt awake again.
The stream lay in its bed and lied,
Said it wasn’t even water anymore.

Third blow. Gods are tricky like that.
Like prize fighters. Knock you flat
Twice then gut punch you standing.

Right up the middle, like a fist,
Like a dagger, like a dum-dum round.
You’re stone again, but this time,

The stone’s part ground down,
Chipped, eviscerated. Hah. Good luck
Growing that crap back. Will your fins

Stir again? Will your gills breathe in
The terrible fresh oxygen? What will
The stream be, will the stream be then?

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