Dante Saved from Hell

"Malizioso son io troppo,
Quand'io procure a'mia maggior trestizia."~Inferno XXII:110-11

In death I found my comedy exact
In each detail. Imagine my surprise
To wander through that land, beneath such skies
As I had thought mere fancy, not gray fact.

I paced each circle, found each sinner wracked
As I foresaw. How true! How wise!
I'd made a brilliant prison with my lies
And damned myself in my own damning tract.

Gifted with the golden, leaden cloak
I'd fashioned out of pride, I trudged my round
Among the hypocrites. But then the Ghost

Appeared with gentle face, and gently spoke.
I was by grace from my own words unbound.
By your forgiveness, Lord, I'm punished most.

by Dan Gunter

Dan Gunter was born in southeast Missouri. After a half-career spent on the margins of academia, he attended law school and now practices law in Seattle. His works have also appeared in the online journals Lucid Rhythms and 14 by 14.

Bodhi Day

For Helga Tilton

I woke this morning in a state of grace
To incensed atmosphere--December 8th,
The date, it's said, the Buddha was enlightened.
Wordless dreams resolved into a heightened
Sense of oneness filling time and space.

The winter sunlight passed through curtain lace
To consecrate the bedroom, and my face
Was warmed. An arc above my body brightened
As I woke. This morning

While I lay awake, I tried to place
A certainty, to contemplate and trace
Trajectories through fields beyond the frightened
Mind and sallow flesh, outside the tightened
Cords of mortal time. In any case,
I woke this morning.

by Rick Mullin

Rick Mullin is a journalist and painter whose poetry has appeared in several print and online journals including Measure, Umbrella, The Lyric and Shit Creek Review, which nominated his poem "Shrine to Satan" for a Pushcart Prize. His chapbook, Aquinas Flinched, is available from Modern Metrics. He lives in northern New Jersey.

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