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Why hast thou set me as a mark against

thee, so that I am a burden to myself? — Job 7:20

 

The bottle stands

empty on the table, sucked dry

an hour ago.  The room spins

less at the floor, so there

he lies, eyes slitted

and pained by the luminous

dial of the electric clock:

Every second throbs and hums.

His tongue lies thick in his mouth,

tasting of something dead.

Dust lies upon dust under

the bed, and strings of dust

hang from the slats.

For now I shall sleep in the dust;

and thou shalt seek me in the morning,

but I shall not be.

 



Gregory Luce is the author of the chapbooks Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications) 
and Drinking Weather (Finishing Line Press). His poems have appeared in numerous print 
and online journals, including Kansas Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Innisfree Poetry Review, 
If, Northern Virginia Review, Juke Jar, Praxilla, Little Patuxent Review, Buffalo Creek Review,
and in the anthology Living in Storms (Eastern Washington University Press). He lives in 
Washington, D.C. where he works as Production Specialist for the National Geographic Society.




I have a great admiration for the book of Job (and Carl Jung’s provocative Answer to Job). Though not a believer in any conventional sense, I am always profoundly moved both emotionally and intellectually by the depiction (in powerful, poetic language)  of the lone human facing an actively hostile universe (personified by God in this case) with nowhere to turn but to his own resources. I am also strongly concerned with the issue of addiction, seeing it (again with Jung) as a spiritual as much as a medical problem. These two concerns come together in this poem.





 





  


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