As All the World Burns



This time, a monsoon. The death toll nears 400.
Women and children's bodies learn new rhythms:
lifelessness, sinking, bobbing, bloating.
A man mistakes a goat that repeatedly laps
the muddy banks for a cow that still clings to life.
The body's largeness is deceiving.
He thinks of the near past, of milk and cheese
before the animal's last wail
pierces his imagination back to stiff legs and pried-open-eyes.



The body's mind is misleading. The death toll surges past 800.
The printing press, the Internet, the tape recorders, the cameras
can't see enough. Can't be as subjective as the eye

that opens
or closes:

Those people all deserve it.
All those fucking Muzzies and terrorists.
If the USA sends one penny of aid I'll quit being an American.
It's a lesson from their own God, about goddamn time.
Do those Osamas and Saddams even believe in Noah?



Oh, they believe.
With eyes pried open, they believe.



And as all the world burns
a butterfly lands before me.
Perfectly proportioned body,
orange wings that
open blue
close yellow
open green . . .

It takes a disproportionate amount of effort
not to protectively cup the thing in my palms and kill it.


Published in Unlikely Stories.

Questions to Ask the Lord or a Sleeping Lover

Monostich to My Lineage