The Madwoman's Ghost

here is this madwoman:
who once took a chipping axe
to her daredevil heart.
her dogged suffering knows no cure.
she digs six feet,
digs six more.

a hollow-eyed child nags at her door,
always. and he is dreadful and pale.
he fearlessly plays lambent converse
to this mother, this whimsical predator,
this loaded, sententious other

here is this madwoman:
a feral beast with cold eyes and a
worrying ghost at her plump side. she spreads
like epidemic but her solipsist disciple
goes untouched.
she has mercy on his heart,
mercy to tear it apart.

she strikes at the dark. her tight fists
plunge as her legs struggle
and her hot breath fills the room.
there is no spark and she
never remembers night.

here is the madwoman’s son:
with his chipped front tooth
and hangdog heart, so afraid he’ll break
he can’t even bend. he empties the bottles
as he’s headed for trouble,
as trouble approaches him.

he lies low beneath a monsoon of undoing,
so that if life is so sweet,
he shouldn’t know it; stuck
in the squall between boy and man, aching
to shake the forgotten nights
of the madwoman.

The Madwoman's Ghost

Luke Downes

Joined April 2008

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