The death of Pew

(Stevenson, Treasure Island)

That blunt shaming.
Pain without the clarity of a wound.

And where was I when you. They were
telling me their city, when I fell; they sang
in praise of their dirty burrows all railed in
white—him, alone, crying out—
and we
come to it now. The condition of bare life.

Clinical movements. He touched my chest
very carefully and then he washed his hands.

After my skin. He did not look at me again.
& alone, crying out—how briskly they walk
through the wind, part a river round me as
if for some inanimate thing. It is all ahead of
you: the island, your lithe inhabitance of
creeks and cliffs; your ambitions pinned to
the unquestioning machines of your bodies
that clear outline of a slicing knife, the light
celadon water sore-edged across those sharp
days. All of you signing on, on; prizes and
winter rocks rough in your hands.
The art of
our necessities is strange, that can make vile
things precious. Come, your hovel. In the
hillside. Beneath dark trees. Bring it to me.

disgrace disgrace disgrace disgrace disgrace
grace disgrace disgrace disgrace disgrace
disgrace is disgrace grace or grace disgrace

Let us hide—him, alone, crying out—you
run and hide. What does it mean that you
saw the whole thing and yet saw no thing?
As if rehearsing. The black spot, with its
charted delineations, this fearful gesture
of instruments. He is right here, is just up
the hill from you
will I wait forever, see your
lives, unseen yet one of you once.
realisation descends and gnaws! In a storm,
he is not worth sheltering.

What are we, if not what he is for? From
under the bridge: muffled blows, the
whirlwind dirty with blood and leaves,
alone crying out in my wretched skin:
barely animate and unbearably animate.