The John Robert Doyle, Jr., Prize
Talley V. Kayser
From Lausanne Cathedral
The dull-edged whirr of city, stir of wind
And here I perch, as though I’ve grown stone wings.
In half an hour will those great bells ring
Below me, one floor down. I hope they shake
My bones, the old stone bones of this my perch.
I want a shudder run right through me, sound
A pummel of unseen ascending waves.
Across the dull-edged whirr a so-still lake
Is smeared with tainted sky as easy fades
To hazy leaning pane I mean the stain
Of city on the other side is: stain.
Dim surging shadows mostly cloaked in taint.
Above it: mountaintop, still, vaguely faint.
Above it: cloudscape, mounting, stir of wind.
I to this city am nothing like friend
Me, shaken to my bones. But still, this sun
Seems all my sun; the shadow of my pen
Its own clear ray, so fallen on this stone.
The shape of my thighs shifted at the groove
Worn in the spiral stairs by time, by move
Meant like my own. So lightly my laugh skipped
Into the weathered pits of all this wall
Into the massive metal hollow maws
Whose sides show shine where strikes the iron tongue.
I took that cold, hard length into my hand
I stroked it as I would a lover’s cock
And laughed again how easily it swung
I swear. I could have rung
This tainted sky awake, if I so chose
Loosed all this shudder run straight through my bones.