All night the bibles burned and bled

in the seminary of the moon.

 

In the surf below, a face rose

from foam: sodium and sand

brought forth into flesh, a thimble

of salt and grime standing

 

in the form of a man. He stepped

into the night air, the orchid on his lapel

collapsing into dry wreckage.

 

He walked into your hometown

and slit your father’s throat

with a salty razor. He fucked your sister

senseless with a hot poker and left

her clothing strewn in the town’s back alleys.

Then he wrote notes confessing

everything in your handwriting.

 

The next night he appeared

on television, speaking his language

of sacred generalities. He came

into your mother’s home, made her

his whore and watched

as she went down on the world for him.

 

We watch with our glass eyes

while he massages our minds

with his hidden script. He recruits

first this one, then that one…

Your brother today, my son the next.

 

Secretly, they all want to sing

the anthem of the hot poker,

the holy aria of the wages of sin.

 

 

 

fowlkesVernon Fowlkes, Jr. is the author of the poetry collection The Sound of Falling (Negative Capability Press, 2013). His work has been published widely in various literary publications, including The Southern Review, The Texas Observer, Willow Springs, Elk River Review, and Birmingham Arts Journal.

Filed under: Poetry

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