Brooks Schmitt

Villanelle






On the brink of the cusp of the cuff
clutched in our slowly swelling hand
where all is alive and dying

Fungus froths across rotting soil
withering cliffs divide sea from land
on the brink of the cusp of the cuff

Backs bent low under the ache of toil
Relentless wind scatters grains of sand
where all is alive and dying

A bottomless caldera hisses and boils
as molten iron trickles in a silver band
on the brink of the cusp of the cuff

Time castes men into serfs and royals
cowering under the gods’ reprimands
where all is alive and dying

Grains of wind gather around a serpent’s coil
as sons of Adam topple to be the first to stand
on the brink of the cusp of the cuff
where all is alive and dying

© Poetry.com