Les Fleurs du Mal
There is a difference between clarity and charity.
There is a difference between mimesis and god.
Contingency, contingency: who can bear
the cruelty of winter, that consummate
objet d’art? I am still glued to myself.
Meditation hasn’t worked, nor religion,
useless homilies resounding in the ear.
That machine won’t do what I tell it to do.
That machine is working so hard.
In retrospect, it hurts plants to flower:
hurts them worse to go to seed.
How long has your body been dead?
What was the name of the field?
I write your name in cursive:
I run my fingers through your snarled hair.
Disincarnate Lord, I promise to become fit
for human consumption. I promise
to give up this gigantic barge of sadness,
book of death I will never understand.
Beloved, I should have called you fire,
because you are not allowed and cannot last.
Seeing you, I want no other life,
but to die like that, in your hands.
“Les Fleurs du Mal” first appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Vol. 36, No. 1 & 2, Summer/Fall 2019.