A Vice is a Virtue Occluded A dam in the river where the blood won’t flow. Debris piled up like misery at the narrow neck. Boatman on the shore with shadowed face doesn’t give a damn if you think you want to cross. He extends a boney hand for your fare, asks if you’ve considered it’s a one-way trip. In Kundalini yoga, a snake coiled at the base of the spine tenses with unreleased power. The day we make accommodations for darkness— offer her a warm meal and a bed, look into her eyes over after-dinner wine— is the day the snake will rise. I’ve carried my desire in bucket-shaped words, in a hardened knot of muscle braced against the past. I have to hold it up in my hands as my ribs hold up my heart, let it fly with open wings, innocent as a dove, stretch my body until the dam breaks, snake rising through a shower of grief, rising like Egyptian sun—third eye, flickering tongue tasting mountains and sky. White wings disappearing into night. Based on a lecture by Joseph Campbell, incorporating a line by W.S. Merwin
Alfred Fournier is an entomologist, writer and community volunteer from Phoenix, Arizona. He coordinates poetry workshops for Connect and Heal, a local non-profit organization. His poems have appeared in Amethyst Review, Third Wednesday, American Journal of Poetry, The Indianapolis Review, The Main Street Rag and elsewhere. On Twitter: @AlfredFournier4.