Finally they took over the city of my father,
filled it with mosquitoes and bush fog, threw him
in a river of flamingo feces. His snide asides
fell on foreign ears, for once. And all this time I’d
thought he’d been self-exiled in a flammable church
like the rest of the troglodytes. Too late
for the burning bush, he found new instruments
of martyrdom: knee-jerk investments, handout tenants,
freedom from modern medicine. The only miracles
were malaria and machine guns. I’m glad he’s dead,
despite the nightmares.
Fake It Forever
After his capture I unscrew the doorknobs,
live on ice and a bullet hole of sunlight.
To pass the time I make a body
of his clothes, burrow beneath it.
When I twitch it shifts limply, drops
an empty sleeve. I see his wineshot eyes,
the hangdog pores of his mealy face,
his grimace worn as a synecdoche
of intimacy. In the silence I try to recall
how he felt, but can only remember
how he looked.
I get my sister to murder him before breakfast.
Midmorning I walk briskly to bleach the scene.
The angled sun aims with protracted accuracy.
A bedroom door’s innocuous façade –
Inside a clean devastation contained on the bed.
Gray flakes of skin, sheets stained sorrel.
The scent is strangely sterile, antibiotic.
On the phone she says the room was left as found.
She’s occupied cleaning the body for study.
The professional clink of clean surgical instruments.
In the closet, a jar of liver.
A Formal Feeling
A frenzied dissection, then days on mute.
Summer blinked on, spread its skies.
The cerulean cocktail of relief and regret.
I poached paranoias, ate eggs without pity.
The apartment turned baker, cooked the books.
By noon, doorknobs sizzled.
Helicopters flailed their arms, a choreographed dance.
Each televised disaster was overproduced, overacted.
I listened to the city breathe.
Its swollen joints moaned, swelling, sinking.
I autotuned the music.
After the massacre, the calcite chairs sit
in mute parallel. I preside, chilled
in the echo chamber, swanning at the table’s head.
The butler uncages a single plate,
cubed meat swelled in sorrel reduction.
His hand quivers once with a regal terror.
Each bite is a muscled give, the sound of flesh
becoming my flesh, a cinematic conversation
for the docile bones. Afterwards, greasy dross
curdles into rococo hieroglyphs.
I lick up the message.