step leads to a precipice
stops cold at the abyss at land’s end
where falling away air fills like an ocean
the void where clouds boil and froth in queasy motion
over the thrusting peaks and eroded mountains
littering the desert plain like pike and shield
like detritus of battles waged when the world began
in a war without warriors before fin and carapace.
Fires like funeral pyres break out at the edge
of sight glimpses of sunset on these strange seas without waters
where were once waters retreated now and dried to fossil layers.
fires burn as for lost heroes and for grieving daughters
for the millennia of pain eons passing in mere hours
viewed from this airy ledge.
An ochre wash descends to deep red then purple light
ebbs to black in stains of blood and endocrine
spilled through the spectrum in a deepening lens;
each day a braveing world dies in slow motion
descending unfathomed depths slower than evolution
until all colors converge into starless night.
Steve Vinson teaches high school and community college English in El Paso, Texas. His MA thesis on Anne Sexton’s poetry evolved into a published article and book chapter in Rossetti to Sexton : Six Women Poets at Texas. He obtained his Ph.D. at New Mexico State University at the age of 54, and he has published a scattering of poems in scholarly journals and on web-poetry pages, including the DeKalb Literary Arts Journal and The Cynic Online Magazine. He is looking forward to retirement and time to write more poems.