Premonition ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written February 20th, 2009

Listen here for my reading of “Premonition.”


Because our houses stand on tremulous fill
Atop the dormant body of a swamp
Once forested by cypress and by fir,
Sometimes the resinous odors start to seep
Though our too-porous floors,
And waken us with the unsettling breath
Of thwarted ancientness.
Time is displaced, and we feel the loneliness
Of that forest taking us from our beds,
Like the gush of an early tide, our small
Skiff lifted by an inexorable force.

Our fate, on such nights, is both dreadful
And wonderful, as the skiff  floats, not only
On brackish serpents, their strong backs
Made muscular by the mysteries of the sea,
But also on our own bright brackish blood,
In the way that animal images flood our dreams.

Now we stagger through the dark house,
And stare out the window at a sky, where,
There and here, disturbing smears of clouds
Reflect the city’s red undying glare, where
Clearings, like plush cloth, sprout tears of stars,
Where listening is a feeling in the skin,
And skin is scent and sweat and exultation.

A voice from nowhere says: “I never sleep.”
And hearing that bruised, huge strength pulse through our feet,
We smell, with lizard fear, the word “begin”.

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