Whoever fights monsters should see to it
that in the process he does not become a monster.
My ink-stained fingers comb the globe today
massaging polished hemispheres that spin
their secondary colors into gray.
A contrast to the molten stuff within,
the fluid orange coals that roll and smoke.
I scotch the earth, unraveling the milky
track of family stars that know too much.
My remnant galaxy becomes a silky
veil of black that shivers at a touch.
Don’t touch it please. Its horrors are bespoke.
But, oh, my ink. My ink-stained fingers comb
the globe, erasing compass lines and blurring
monster warnings. Never reaching home,
I harbor in my parlor where the whirring
continents and oceans go for broke.
Rick Mullin’s poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including The Dark Horse, American Arts Quarterly, The New Criterion, Measure, and Rabbit Ears: TV Poems. His books include Soutine (Dos Madres Press, 2012), Transom (Dos Madres, 2014), and his most recent collection, Lullaby & Wheel (Kelsay Books, 2019).