Brian Barker

Brian Barker

Nightmare for the Last Night on Earth

Through the hole in the back of my head
I could see the room—
a metal bed, hooks, a pulley, a tub of water.

The light flickered—
fissured, vertiginous,
as if a Ferris wheel churned
inside the cement wall.

In the shadows, a hooded man handcuffed to a radiator.
He was sprawled in a dark puddle.
He was so small, he was disappearing, his ribs
glistened like black grains of rice. . .

I heard chattering in the distance,
something guttural & moist, like an army
of worms tunneling through the white screen of sleep,
their soft beaks scraping the window pane. . .

I opened my mouth  & nothing came out—

This was the last acquiescence:
my silences rose to heaven like handkerchiefs on fire.