I suspect it’s the Dias Irae that gets me going, shaking a fist
at the gathering storm clouds I use as a symbol
of The sky’s a rotten apricot in my pocket.
Just because the Gods made us weave through traffic,
my fellow countrymen think it’s fine to turn the oak
into a parking lot, to turn a hillside to a dog on a leash.
The requisite trumpets take me to the War now,
though really, delight in music
is unspeakable, the way it drills little spells inside you:
the Vienna woods are there, a shabby apartment in Prague
with a wooden slab for a bed and a giant cockroach
to sing to. So why do I need words too, a garbled shoebox
of sentences to poke through, a few figurines
that sit on the side of the bed
injecting me with their panic attacks? There they are,
cutting themselves in the mirror, singing
an aria from Don Carlos, and if you don’t know
what they do to each other, look it up, look into their faces.
Dias Irae first appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review.