Tiresias Drinking ... by Clayton Eshleman

on his hands in Hades, head into Odysseus's
ewe-blood filled trench, saw through
Hades, as if "down" into an earlier prophecy:

as Pangaea separated into Laurasia and Gondwanaland,
so were creatures to separate into animals and men.
Would the separation continuum end when men

extracted language from the beasts?
As Tiresias drank animal blood to be able to speak
in Hades, so in an earlier abyss did

hominids, becoming men, swallow skulls of blood
that animal sounds might dream in them,
and take on the shapes of men? Tiresias saw

that the etymology of magic was in maggots,
each in syllable rags, wending their way
out a bison belly's imploded cavern,

that the prophet's task is to conduct
the savagery of the grass, to register
the zeros rising from the circuits of the dead

in suspension below, mouths forever frozen at
the roller coaster's summit in wild hello.

- Clayton Eshleman (1935-)

from Fracture (1983)