Rage is easier to greet,
but rarely receives entrance,
drunk as he comes
tilting into precious, porcelain peaces.
The door is bolted against him, so he hammers
ceaselessly throughout the day and night.
And since I have not learned his name,
I cannot sober him with reason
or soothe him with song.
“Water, water,” he cries,
and I give him wine in the shadows.
His furnace needs a river. But no,
that could rip the whole structure from its roots.
So I let him spew his flames on the threshold,
and those who mind the house wonder
at the flickering in the windows,
the bubbling and peeling of the walls,
and I tell them all is well, all is well,
as smoke billows beneath the door.
I sit frog-like and boiling, beside
the only one who made my halls his home.
Looming mass of muscle—I have fed him well.
I ask if I should let his brother in.
“No,” he whispers, as he ever does.
All visitors abide against his will.
It is he who cleans the floors,
and paints the walls, and pours the wine.
He who draws Rage in, and he who bars the door.
He who fills the room to bursting,
suffocating any who would stay.
But now wood splinters, heat spills through the cracks,
and he shambles toward the basement door.
Tomorrow will find him unburnt,
fingers coiled like silk-tongued snakes
around my ankles in the ashes.
– s. Clark