Halfway Dead

skeletal drumsticks beat layers of silver voltage
onto silent stretches of elastic skin; once, twice,
calling to the golden swans to take their victims
to be burned under a flaming expanse of ice water
where they would ignite into contradictory tempos
and epileptic rhythms, upward, in ripples of bubbles,
and at the bottom of the sea, their souls would live
sheltered lives of indigo, and they would have children
that had gills and an invisible beam to mark the world
with the cryptic symbols of their minds, but for now
they would remain hooked dryly to the sanded motors
of the luminous sea, almost alive but halfway dead.