There is a sweet smell that makes me drunk
when I find the body of a butcher
strung up by a vein
I knew not existed.
His mouth has had days of ebb and flow
of flies and deer tongues,
of black beetles
who part the light from his muddy eyes,
of salt in the air and the seizures
that happen daily outside cities.
His feet are raw, like lumps of steak.
His hair gleams with flowers of flesh and blood.
I think of all the days
he has hid his face from the world
trying to pry gods
from the stomachs of cows and pig,
the nights his skin creaked
at the edge
of a harbinger’s blade.
This I know –
the little bits of forgiveness that lie
dried into amber husks
that once flew around the air like hornets
still remain in the underbelly of his shop.
I want to go there,
gather them in my indigo-bruised arms
and burn them as my child is born.
I want to build with them, an axe
piece apart my life
so it may too burn
and keep me warm.
For that is the true emblem of hope,
as is a body, hatching itself in the trees,
a violence beyond the words of the creator
forever swaying to and from
one apocalypse to the next.
John Goodhue lives in Bellingham, Washington and is a student currently pursuing a BA in creative writing through Western Washington University. His poetry is forthcoming or has been published in burntdistrict, Jeopardy Magazine, Knockout Magazine, The Write Room, and OVS Magazine, among others.