Aphelion Issue 296, Volume 28
July 2024 --
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Hungry Eyes

by Simon MacCulloch

Inspired by J K Potter’s photo-collage “Hungry Staircase” (1987)

Down, down, it spirals dizzily, this creaky wooden stair
Its banisters a worm around the oval of the well
From which the steps fan out as if a flower opened there
A flower at whose centre is a hole that leads to hell.

An old plantation-home awash with dark oppressive heat
And I, in search of inspiration, clambering through its guts
Uncertain who or what my ever-curious lens might meet
Yet avid for the marvellous as an eye that never shuts.

And having reached the landing at the top of the ascent
And leaned across to point my camera down the stairway’s throat
I watch the boarded risers where my labouring footsteps went
Arrange themselves like ripples in a pool on which I float.

Emerging from its depths piranha jaws are gaping wide
The teeth a fringe of daggers for a pit of utter black
The deep be-nightmared darkness of the ultimate Inside
Of Nietzschean paranoia - the abyss is gazing back.

I must have stumbled out of there; I don’t remember much.
The photograph, developed, was as natural as could be.
I’m glad that my imagination hasn’t lost its touch:
As long as there is darkness then there’s something more to see.

© 2024 Simon MacCulloch

Simon MacCulloch lives in London. His poems live in Reach Poetry, The Dawntreader, Spectral Realms, Aphelion, Black Petals, Grim and Gilded, Ekstasis, Pulsebeat Poetry Journal, Ephemeral Elegies, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Emberr, View from Atlantis, Altered Reality, The Sirens Call, The Chamber Magazine, I Become the Beast, Lovecraftiana, Awen and elsewhere.

Find more by Simon MacCulloch in the Author Index.