Search Moongate About Jodey Bateman Pablo Neruda Translations by Jodey Bateman Contributors Michael Eliseuson Ken Peters Daisy Sidewinder Uncle River Abuela Musica Jalapeno Peppers Children’s Page Finder Submissions
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . 
La Bas

by Paul Kesler


Within the stone corridor are curtains blowing inward, diaphanous, tinged by the moon, crammed with the blackness of shadows --- a long throat swallowing whiteness. This throat will never be satisfied. There is a shape at the end of the corridor that never materializes. I am going down the stairs.

In the dungeon are no curtains. The wind never enters. But sometimes a wind will leave. A nebulous shape will appear, apropos of nothing. It is not my shape. I am going down the stairs.

There is no morning. The throat has seen to that. The curtains throb like pulsing tissues as the wind rises and falls. There are signs of leaves, which scatter as I approach. I am the one they detest. They expand, then contract, going down the stairs.

The curtains resent me. They cannot satisfy the throat. They do not wish to become part of the shape, but have no choice. It is the curtains which keep the shape alive, which keep it moving. The shape is there when the moon is there,  gone when the stones absorb it. Or it goes down.

I am going downstairs. The dungeon lingers. Sometimes the shape goes before me, sometimes it follows. When it follows I can feel the wind at my back, like a tentative curtain, or a tongue from the corridor's throat. 

I am nearing the dungeon but the shape is gone. It is not at all white,
though the wind has arrived. The curtains remain upstairs, sucked from the corridor like sunlight. 

The door is closed --- it is dark as I approach. I have not yet reached bottom. The leaves may follow if I open the door. I am not afraid of them.

I am going down the stairs.

to Paul  ~ to Moongate