Today's poem is by Sally Wen Mao

    Kola Superdeep Borehole, Russia, 1970

   To see that everything has gone
   give me your mute hole, my love!

   — Lorca, "Nocturne of the Hole"

The nadirs of the world
are all manmade. A man invents a drill,
plants the SG-3-it plunges seven miles
through the Baltic crust.

Inside this hole, cold silt duels
the light. Inside, a flea might flit,
a centipede may crawl.

Steel plumbs the earth and it is crass
how soft its membrane is.
Manhole: reminds us how curiosity

violates bedrock, how heat betrays
the depth trap. Water abrades

the rock skin, curios suspended
in basalt: inside the hole, scientists find a farrago
of fossils-ancient plankton,
how long must they have swam & plumbed—

    To give & give & give & give
up, body to earth, ever-loving chasm, chiasmus:
    The hole eats the human
    like the human eats the hole.

The poet's no more prophet
than the trees can sing. He can't dig
    the deepest hole, nor can he fill it

with substance. The romance of holes
    will undo him, weld him to the ground.

Copyright © 2014 Sally Wen Mao All rights reserved
from New Madrid
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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