Ruins of the Black DeathThis keening, sinking sense at the crux of the Caucasus
is an aftershock of ancient horrors – burned by wind and tepid sunlight
we stop at noon, unwrap tinfoil biscuits for a break
and stare bleakly down at the little dens, made of stone, forgotten;
where still the glint of skeletonized corpses can be seen
in the light of mid-day.
What natural horrors populate these corners of the mountainscape;
at the edge of the world, somewhere.
What memories of blood and bile and worlds
crumbling at the seams
have etched their tribute to futility in the ashes of the soil.
What fate has made immortal
is nothing but the vestiges of death, nestled in with lavender
and fat grasshoppers trilling on the wind.
This nature is a haunted thing,
that one might wander from the lull of the aesthetic,
soft blues and summer breezes, and stumble
into the face of sheer mortality, dark and dank and bare;
and knowing not the course to swallow truth with dignity,
we speak nothing of the ho