The Cry

Sheena Blackhall

After 'The Cry', Edvard Munch, 1895 Lithograph

Munch walked as well as drew
that inner bridge. It is horrid enough to be true.
Two walkers receding into the upset sky,
a blood-shot sunset, leaving a single figure
facing alone that spare and terrible view.
It is far, yet near as well.

Two ships on a fishless Sea
carry their masts like crosses.

Nothing seems real except that unheard scream,
the hands, squeezing the skull as if to expel
some nameless pain. As if a single action could expunge
alienation, like the wringing out of a sponge.

The landscape's pared to its fault lines,
those eyes are wide as craters on the moon,
visited rarely, a realm of dark and ice
gone way beyond all hope of reclamation,
like the cancer patient told 'It'll all come right.'
Like the soldier dead in a ditch,
awarded a posthumous order of merit.
Like me, perhaps, or you.
After the lights go out, the owl ascends its throne,
when survival loses its trimmings,
is stripped to the bare bone.