(Alek Newton/Unsplash)

O ocean-bashed
quartz I unearth

on this unpeopled
shore, O rock

that festers
in a weepy-eyed socket

of sand—confess!
Were you

an adze-head once,
long ago?

In my fist, your chiseled
heft throbs

with old crime.
Does the skull

I envision buried
below (Bronze Age,

Neolithic) show
the scars of your

rage, or did it
cave in from

too much silt
and complaint?

Let me re-hone
your edge to hack

at sequestered
guilt; burnish your

face to a mirror’s
impeachment; wield

and fling your
untried conviction.

The gash you make
in the surf,

where you strike,
hollows and

hallows. I, too,
would testify,

wanting a tongue.

Malcolm Farley has published other poems from his book-length manuscript, A Temple in the Dunes, in AGNI, the New Republic, the Paris Review, the Sonora Review, the Madison Review, the Los Angeles Review, and the Night Heron Barks. He is currently working on an MA in cultural reporting and criticism at New York University’s Carter Journalism Institute.

Also by this author

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Published in the October 2022 issue: View Contents
© 2024 Commonweal Magazine. All rights reserved. Design by Point Five. Site by Deck Fifty.