Clutched in their muscular lids, tight,
Hoarded, kept. And the shadow pricks syringes
Drop on skin are bright aftermath.
He is dead where the light is glaring. The stitches
Gather a Y on his torso.
They are orderly serpents on a map’s sea.
They are science, reason,
Loosened boards over a crawl space of body,
Or the rash left by impostures
Crude as answers.
He is drawn out and ragged as Rasputin,
If monks were beardless and moon-white.
That makes her the Tsarina, German-Russian
Alexandra, fool of faith.
Hemophiliac princes, worlds with no poets,
No more than ants and their dead queens.
But her son on a stainless-steel table seems
Cold. Fahrenheit is not all that means
And ‘corpse’ is what murderers drag down to basements,
Not the ghost that’s pressed to her chest
Of a child lost.
Under eyelids, a baby. Here, a tall man.
Ceilings and roofs keep the sun off
These lights. No one else hears the distant wet cough
Echoed in the hall. The trash can
Works its whistling wheels to the door and waits
Like Stalin. Princes and Pushkins
To be swept into heaps like evolution’s
Great achievements: Marxists, roaches….
There is a horror in each step a child takes.
Like hours, they walk on to days,