Skulls and other crumbling caves invite
Smaller things to enter them. So this mill,
Detail jumbling as its carpentry unlaced,
Called me down to its hollow, where irrigation
Swilled in a greener-than-grass surface algae,
Emerald, tepid, moating around the swayback
Structure tossed up by waves of receded grain.
Blue damselflies, thin as flower petals,
Coupled in a fringe around the pool.
Beyond that water the pestle sun had ground
All grass to a fine powder.Â The mill itself
Was graying, ripples of fallen wood dropped
Like flesh sloughing to reveal the few bones.
It had a roomless feel to it, filled with its own
Decline, but inside, northwestern light divided
From the dark. Wood thinned until it became
Part of the air.Â The floor softened and rotted
From pigeon droppings. Here, there, rusted, stiffened
Machinery.Â A mill, a honeycomb of angled
Chutes, evaporating wood and light, dry
Rooms.Â In one chamber, a box, hinged
And built into the wall, nested the remains
Of pigeons straightening wings into bone,
Their eyes looking into dust.Â No miller
Nor sign of any, no tools gleaming with body
Oils, no salt-bleached bandannas, no preserved jars â€“
Only from the rafters hung the long and sunken
Paper-dead flesh of a drying snake,
Teeth curved back like fingers to its open
Throat, its eyes, the thin shininess of wheat chaff.
Standing in the matterless door,
I saw the fluvial swell of some wild summer
Weed bent with waterless ripeness, yolk
And blush, like a peach, but rolling, fleshless gold.