New Jersey poet Adele Kenny has challenged me again. Via her blog, Kenny recently tasked her readers to write an “Apocalypse” poem. You can read Kenny’s challenge here. My effort is posted below. It’s a poem from my new manuscript,
The Journals of Lt. Kendal Everly: A Story of the American Civil War. My protagonist, Lt. Kendal Everly, a school teacher, a pacifist, is about to be brutally enveloped by war. To a degree, he is about to face a personal
Apocalypse. Everly, wrapped in rage, has already stabbed his adversary, a young Confederate soldier (detailed in a earlier poem); now, Everly straddles his foe, bends over him, and wraps hisfingers around the boy’s neck.
August 4, 1861 – Entry IV
His neck was thin. My fingers
slid around it as they might caress
your neck, Elizabeth. Yet, it was slicked
with blood so it felt as if I tightened
my grip around a fish. Hunched over
like Notre Dame’s bell ringer, I pulled his head
closer to mine. He might have thought
I meant to kiss him. My heart, my mind,
both bubbled with some foul Satanic froth,
both marvelled at the deepening color
of his face, a deep purple, a fine wine.
I gulped the dying gasps of this boy
as if his death would envelop me
with the silken filaments of salvation.
My fingers tightened. His neck grew thinner,
a wet string. His mouth, like a gate, opened,
dark and wide, attempting to conjure breath.
His limbs flailed attempting to embrace the air.
His eyes, opened wide like globes.
Damn you, I screamed. DAMN YOU. And then, there was
death. He was still and I was lost. Dear God, I am lost.