Virginia Konchan

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.