Askold Skalsky
Faust, Dying

After he had out-striven the Spirit That Denies
and handed God the wager, though not without
ambiguity, the mothers prepared to bear the prudent
mystagogue into the Olympus of pagan bards, restless

and dissatisfied with birthing a whole canon out
of the Weimar hinterland, pinched by anxiety, and talking,
talking and reading, anything—the railway nexus in France,
the liberation of new metals around the high electrode—

drawing arabesques in the air with his free hand
(Gretchen held the other) and tracing words across his coverlet,
gaping into the limpid prism of his solitude. Open the shutters,
he said, tracing more words, more enigmatic letters

in a macrocosmic alphabet, invisible even to him,
who had probed spring’s greenest diastole, so close, so far.